AVENTURA (CBSMiami) – The family of a man allegedly killed by another patient at Aventura Hospital has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the hospital.

“Because of the hospital’s negligence, I lost my son,” said Giovannina Paloumbis via a translator Friday.

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Paloumbis buried her face in her hands when she talked about her son, 32 year old Raul Rios, and his violent death, at a news conference announcing the lawsuit.

Through tears, Paloumbis said all she has left is pictures and memories of her son.

Aventura police said 31-year-old Alexander Jackson strangled Rios in their shared room at Aventura Hospital on June 26, 2014.

Alexander Jackson  (Source: Miami-Dade Corrections)

Alexander Jackson (Source: Miami-Dade Corrections)

Paloumbis and her family say a dangerous person was placed in the same room without proper supervision.

“Only God knows how much my son suffered,” said Paloumbis. “They could have resuscitated my son and he would be alive.”

“He was aware he was being strangled to death,” said attorney Ervin Gonzalez.  “He felt the last breath leave his body and he died in a miserable state.”

A housekeeper found Rios on the floor of his room.   Police questioned and then charged Alexander Jackson with first degree murder.

Diagnosed as bipolar and schizophrenic, Rios’ family had taken him to Aventura Hospital’s psychiatric ward when he stopped eating and became despondent.   No one could have imagined he would leave in a body bag.

Click here to watch Joan Murray’s report.

“It’s a mess in our house, crying, depression, we can’t work, can’t sleep, we lost the best son you could ever ask for,” said Frances Paloumbis, Rios’ sister.

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The family’s attorney, Ervin Gonzalez, says Jackson had 12 previous arrests, including assault.

“This is a case of inexcusable neglect, allowing a patient to die at the hands of a criminal,” said Gonzalez.

“A hospital is supposed to be a safe place where people go to heal.   Aventura Hospital abandoned their care of Raul Rios and he was killed right under their noses,” said Gonzalez.

Aventura Hospital released this statement from Kathryn Walton:

Our hearts go out to the Rios family regarding the tragic loss of their son.  We are reviewing our procedures, working with the appropriate agencies and taking all measures to further ensure the wellbeing and safety of our patients. We remain committed to providing safe care to our patients and take our responsibility to the community very seriously.

It could take a year to get the case into a jury’s hands, unless Aventura Hospital decides to settle.

Raul Rios’ family said losing him means a lifetime of pain.


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