THE family of a man who committed suicide by jumping from a hospital window has been awarded an unprecedented $2,053,678 from the United Christian Hospital for negligence. Tsang Choi-hung had argued, in the first case of its kind, that the hospital was negligent in failing to take adequate steps to prevent her brother, Tsang Kwong-chak, from killing himself, even though hospital authorities knew he was suicidal. Mr Justice Rogers was told during an eight-day hearing that Tsang had been taken to the hospital on June 19, 1987, after he had tried to commit suicide by taking pills and trying to jump from the window of his flat. He recovered later that morning, but during the day he told his sister he wanted to die. He had pulled out his intravenous drips. The judge found that nurses who were told of this should have brought it to the attention of senior nurses and doctors. But Tsang was put to bed in a general ward on the fourth floor near a window. He jumped to his death that night. Mr Justice Rogers said Tsang had a history of mental illness and since 1981 had suicidal tendencies. Experts said he was suffering from an emotional disorder which could be treated. Ms Tsang told staff she wanted her brother transferred to the Kwai Chung psychiatric hospital and, if not, she wanted to stay with him. Her request to remain in the ward was refused but it was arranged that Tsang be moved to Kwai Chung at 9 am the next day. The judge found that doctors appreciated Tsang's history of suicidal tendencies, but he noted that several doctors and nurses who could have given useful evidence were not called. At night there were only four nurses to look after almost 60 patients. Mr Justice Rogers said it was most unfortunate that Tsang was put in a bed near a window. Had he been on the other side, someone may have seen him walking across the ward. Although the window had bars, they were not effective, he said. He found that because of Tsang's condition, he should have been admitted, either as a temporary patient or committed, to a psychiatric hospital. He said there was a breakdown in the system with relevant information not being passed on about Tsang. Where the fault lay, the judge was not sure. He found it may have been a doctor not paying sufficient attention to the patient; not realising or knowing danger signals; or nursing staff in not communicating what was meant by ''high suicidal risk''. ''It seems to me . . . once the hospital had admitted the deceased and appreciated the fact he was of high suicidal tendency, they owed a duty of care to take all reasonable steps to ensure the deceased's safety,'' he said.