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Psychiatrists: Some examples of malpractice they engage in

Although we hear a lot more in the media about the filing of malpractice lawsuits against surgeons and general physicians, just as many are reportedly filed against psychiatrists as any other doctor.

Established guidelines generally require psychiatrists to conduct an assessment to determine whether their patients are suicidal. However, they oftentimes fail to do so. Not too long thereafter, a patient commits suicide.

In looking more closely at the circumstances surrounding their loved one's death, the family may find out that the psychiatrist failed to perform a suicidal risk assessment on them. It's then that they file a medical malpractice case.

On the flip side of things, an assessment may be completed on a patient. Or, in the course of treating a patient, repressed memories may be brought to light. In each of these situations, the psychiatrist may discover that the patient is under imminent threat of either hurting him or herself or others.

In cases such as this, it's the duty of the psychiatrist to do what he or she can to prevent it, even if it means breaching patient privacy and reporting it. Any failure to take necessary measures to prevent harm from being inflicted on the individual or someone else could result in the psychiatrist being sued for malpractice.

Another common instance in which psychiatrists are sued for malpractice is when they fail to properly diagnose a patient's condition or provide him or her with the wrong treatment for it. Unlike other fields of medicine, with psychiatry, there's a pretty clear protocol in place whereby a properly handled assessment should result in a definitive patient diagnosis.

It's in cases in which the evaluation is not handled properly that the wrong diagnosis may be assigned to the patient. This can result in wrongly prescribed drugs as well.

In the past few years, there has been uptick in medical malpractice cases filed. One of the main goals for the filing of these suits is to ensure that health care providers are penalized for providing inferior standards of care. As a result of this increase in lawsuits, closer scrutiny has been placed on the efforts psychiatrists take to combat drug interactions, instances of self-harm and patient death.

If you believe that your psychiatrist provided you or your loved one with an inadequate standard of care, then a Chicago medical malpractice attorney may advise you of your right to file lawsuit in your case.

Source: Brain Blogger, "Psychiatric malpractice lawsuits and their causes," Brian Wu, accessed Oct. 11, 2017

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