The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

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November 15, 2013

Defendants cleared in suicide case

EBENSBURG — A Cambria County civil jury deliberated less then three hours before handing down a verdict clearing a local doctor, a physician assistant and Conemaugh Counseling Associates in the 2010 suicide of a Richland Township man.

The verdict came at the end of an eight-day trial resulting from a civil lawsuit filed by Jeryl Sedlmyer of Richland Township, who sought unspecified compensation following the death of her husband, David Sedlmyer, 55.

In the verdict, the jury found that the care provided by Dr. Burton Singerman and physician assistant Autumn Beyer did not fall below the acceptable standard of care in the treatment of David Sedlmyer.

Singerman, who spent a number of days on the witness stand, was chairman of the behavioral medicine department at Memorial Medical Center and department head at Conemaugh Counseling at the time Sedlmyer was being treated.

Sedlmyer, a former general sales manager for Wheeler Cadillac-Pontiac and a salesman at Thomas Team Honda, went into depression in 2009 after going through a number of traumatic events, according to testimony. He sought help in the fall of 2009 and continued on medication and counseling for some time.

Testimony in the courtroom of Cambria County Judge Patrick Kiniry showed that during his treatment Sedlmyer was not seen by a psychiatrist and his appointments were with a physician assistant.

At times he did not comply with counseling and doctor appointments, especially in early to mid-2010, witnesses said.

On July 22, 2010, Sedlmyer jumped from the McNally Bridge, plunging 192 feet to his death.

Kathy Mellott covers the Cambria Courthouse for The Tribune-Democrat. Follow her on Twitter at twitter.com/kathymellotttd.

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