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When may your psychiatrist’s behavior border on malpractice?

When patients don’t like their doctor’s bedside manner, their treatment approaches or something else related to how their physician treats them, some will address the issue directly with them. Many others will turn to online review websites and chronicle their experiences there.

If a patient’s health declines or he or she dies after being treated by a physician, then such an instance may warrant a medical malpractice lawsuit being filed instead.

To be eligible to file a medical malpractice lawsuit, it’s important for you to be able to prove that you and your defendant had an established doctor-patient relationship. You must be able to demonstrate that your suffered either a mental or physical injury because of your doctor’s negligence, too.

When it comes to a mental health provider such as a psychiatrist, one of the more common situations in which they are sued for malpractice is when they fail to properly conduct a suicide assessment on a patient. If they fail to take necessary measures to prevent it, then this may also constitute negligence.

Another common reason that a psychiatrist may be sued for malpractice is if he or she assigns the patient the wrong diagnosis or prescribes the wrong or inappropriate dosage of medicine.

In the case of the latter, the onus falls on the doctor prescribing the psychotropic drug to take time to warn his or her patients of the potential benefits, risks and alternatives to taking certain medications. This process is known as getting a patient’s informed consent.

Those working in the mental health field also risk being accused of engaging in malpractice if they plant false memories in the minds of, become sexually involved with or threaten their clients. If your psychiatrist shares information about your condition without your consent or falsifies your medical records, then he or she may be sued for malpractice as well.

It’s important to remember that every incident that may appear to be one in which your mental health provider failed to provide reasonable care doesn’t necessarily reach the level of malpractice. There are many situations in which a psychiatrist or medical provider may make a wrong decision even after thoughtfully weighing the totality of information set out in front of him or her.

If you believe that you’ve been improperly treated at the hands of your psychiatrist, then a Chicago attorney can advise you of your legal options in your case.

Source: Psychology Today, “When to sue your psychiatrist for malpractice,” Ruth Lee Johnson, J.D., accessed March 22, 2018

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