Psychiatrists, like other medical doctors, sometimes make mistakes. Their diagnosis may be incorrect because they overlooked important medical data. Their course of treatment may be inappropriate because they failed to take into account all the circumstances of a particular case. In the worst cases, psychiatric malpractice can have a fatal consequence – suicide by the patient. And just like other medical professionals, psychiatrists must be held accountable for their negligence in order to avoid future tragedies.
The pain associated with suicides is unique because there is always the powerful feeling that “someone should have seen this coming and done something.” Loved ones may feel burdened by an unbearable guilt because they failed to recognize the serious nature of the situation until it was too late. If the lost loved one was under the care of a psychiatrist when they took their own life, one possibility that must be considered is simple and frightening – psychiatric malpractice. It is the ethical and legal responsibility of mental health professionals to use very means at their disposal to prevent patients from harming themselves.
Just like a medical doctor who treats a “physical” disease or injury – anything from a broken bone to cancer – psychiatrists are bound by a set of strict guidelines designed to safeguard the health of their patients. A psychiatrist who fails to properly diagnose a mental disorder and take appropriate preventive action with the patient through medication or analysis is no different than a doctor who does not recognize that a patient is suffering from a physical disease and requires a certain course of treatment in order to recover and resume a normal, happy life with their loved ones.
A lawyer with training and experience in handling hundreds of cases of psychiatric malpractice will act as your advocate – level the playing field, in effect – when you are trying to maneuver through the foreign and confusing world of legal minutiae at a time when you already are overwhelmed by your own raw emotions because you have lost a loved one.
Yes, your loved one is gone. Legal proceedings – a civil suit, criminal charges, a financial settlement – will never them back. Filing and pursuing a case of psychiatric malpractice is not about personal vengeance, however. But you can find a sense of peace in obtaining legal justice and the knowledge that your actions may save others from facing a similar family crisis.