Mother: State Hospital System 'Killed My Son'

Mental Patient Troy Geske Suffocated Strapped Facedown On Gurney

The mother of a patient who suffocated strapped facedown on a gurney said Sunday that the state mental hospital system "killed my son."

Linda Stephens, the mother of Troy Geske, said a Pueblo Grand Jury report obtained by 7NEWS told her "what I suspected all along."

"My son did not have to die," the mother told CALL7 Investigator John Ferrugia.

A 7NEWS investigation first revealed that, on Oct. 10, 2010 at Pueblo State Hospital, Geske was strapped face down on a gurney, his arms and legs restrained with leather bindings, and a leather strap placed over his back to hold him firmly to the table.

Hospital staff, including a police officer, then left him alone in seclusion, the CALL7 Investigation showed. After nearly 10 minutes in restraint, the overweight Geske suffocated.

The grand jurors did not find any criminal conduct in Geske's death, which could have included criminal negligence charges.

Yet, citing a "systematic failure" in staff training and enforcement of patient-safety policies, the grand jury report found the hospital staff committed "misfeasance and malfeasance with regard to a governmental function, and abused their authority resulting in the death of Mr. [Troy] Geske."

Under Colorado law, malfeasance involves official misconduct, including unauthorized exercise of official duties, failure to perform a legal duty or violating state laws or rules.

"It confirmed everything -- everything. The system screwed up," Stephens said. "And because of that screw up, I lost my son."

The mother said the grand jury report made it clear that no one person could be blamed for his death, because they were all responsible.

"It wasn't the two people who walked him in, it wasn't the four people who tied him down," she said.

"It was the system that killed my son."

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