Articles Posted in Psychiatric Malpractice

The family of Chris Benoit filed a lawsuit against his physician for improperly prescribing medications to the wrestler. The family claims Benoit was using these medications when he strangled and killed his wife and son. Other physicians have come forward and claimed the doctor was negligent in monitoring his patient during the course of prescribing medications. The physician is currently serving prison time for improperly dispensing medications.

Read more about the negligent physician here.

The family of a boy who committed suicide in 2007 is now filing a medical malpractice suit against the boy’s psychiatrist for “over-medicating” him. The family alleges the boy was on a psychiatric drug cocktail that led to serotonin syndrome, the cause of his death. The boy was originally diagnosed with autism which led to his medical treatment in the first place. The mother also brings a wrongful death claim against the doctor for the same reasons.

Read more about the medical malpractice suit here.

There had been numerous allegations of sexual abuse at Illinois’ largest psychiatric hospital by the time that the Chicago Tribune investigated and uncovered a systemic problem. Riveredge Hospital, where many wards of the state are treated, has been leaving sexual predators unguarded in spite of allegations about at least 10 mentally disabled children being assaulted in the past three years. When the Chicago Tribune began prodding into the assault reports, the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services last week decided to stop admitting wards into the hospital, a severe penalty for the hospital’s severe mistakes. Regarding one assault that occurred last year, Riveredge staff noted that there were drops of blood in a bathroom where a 19-year-old patient claimed that another teenager had raped him. Hospital officials did not send that victim to an emergency room nor did they report the incident to police. Even more striking, the alleged attacker had been admitted with the precaution that other patients needed to be protected from him for risk of sexual assault; so the staff had reason to know that he might attack another patient. Even after that rape was reported to staff, the hospital still failed to provide a one-on-one aide for the alleged rapist, as was required. There is no word yet whether any lawsuits will be filed in connection with the hospital’s alleged negligence. To read the full story, click here.

A woman filed suit against her psychiatrist for negligence and violations of the standard of care for carrying-on a relationship while treating her as a patient. The woman filed suit after the psychiatrist caused her severe physical, mental, and emotional injury. The suit alleges the woman and her psychiatrist began a sexual relationship within a year of beginning her treatment. The psychiatrist continued to treat the woman for four more years despite their relationship. In that time, he continued to prescribe her medication.

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Surveillance footage from a hospital shows a woman falling from a chair, writhing on the floor, and, finally, dying, as workers fail to react for over an hour. Esmin Green, 49, waited in the emergency room for almost 24 hours until she fell face down on the floor from the chair she was sitting in. She fell at 5:32 a.m., by 6:35 a.m., when a medical staff member who was flagged down by another person in the waiting room nudged Green’s body with her foot, she was dead. Until that staffer was summoned, Green hardly drew any attention. Patients sitting nearby did not react at all, security guards and a hospital staff member seemed to have noticed her body a minimum of three times, but, from the video, it does not appear that any of them attempted to aid her. In fact, one security guard could not even be bothered to leave his chair, instead, he rolled it around the corner, stared at her body, then rolled it back. Green had been involuntarily committed the day before the incident and was still waiting for a bed when she fell; her body stopped moving approximately half an hour after she fell. Reportedly six people have been fired because of the incident, amongst those let go are security personnel and staff members.

This is not the first issue with the hospital’s mental health unit, which was sued last year by the state’s Mental Hygiene Legal Service and Civil Liberties Union, who called the unit “a chamber of filth, decay, indifference and danger.” The lawsuit further states that patients who complained too much were occasionally handcuffed, beaten, or injected with psychotropic drugs. The parties in that suit went before a judge on Tuesday where the hospital agreed to institute reforms, including checking on patients in the waiting room every 15 minutes. Additionally, the hospital will make attempts to shorten the average waiting time to 10 hours within the next four months.

Adding to the shocking situation is the fact that Green’s medical records appear to have been altered or falsely filled out in an attempt to cover up the incident. For example, there is a note for 6 a.m. that claims she was “awake, up and about” and another 20 minutes later claiming she was sitting in the waiting room and that her blood pressure was normal, in actuality, Green was either dead or writhing on the floor during those times.

One of the greatest organizational problems facing hospitals today is the battle over medical records. Many patients find that it can take months or years to get a hold of their own medical records after treatment. Even worse, some families of victims of medical malpractice or wrongful death have waited for years to obtain their loved one’s medical records from hospitals. Often, lost or missing records are simply part of hospital error and not a deliberate attempt to delay, but on some occasions hospitals may frustrate a patient’s records request purposefully. Patients and victims’ families must be aware that statutes of limitation often require that medical malpractice lawsuits be filed within a certain period of time after the injury occurs or is discovered. This means that patients and victims’ families must decide to file a medical malpractice lawsuit and contact their medical malpractice attorney as soon as possible and begin the medical records request process.

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The widow of a sheriff’s deputy is suing a mental hospital for its role in the shooting death of her husband. In her lawsuit, she files a third party medical malpractice claim, alleging that the shooter, a man involuntarily committed in 2004, suffered medical malpractice at the hands of the mental hospital and its doctors. In turn, it was the shooter who suffered the medical malpractice that ultimately led to the death of her husband, a sheriff’s deputy who was responding to a call at the 74 year old shooter’s home. Lawyers for the widow acknowledge that their case is on shaky legal ground, as it would set precedent in Florida if it even made it to trial. But lawyers for the widow are confident and claim that the mental hospital had a duty to warn law enforcement officers and other first responders about the mental status of the shooter. Lawyers for the mental hospital respond that allowing the case to go to trial would be an unprecedented extension of a mental health professional’s duties.

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A recent study indicates that psychiatrists have been receiving more money from drug companies than the doctors of any medical specialty. Drug companies have recently made efforts to increase the amount of money they spend on marketing fees and expenses targeted to psychiatrists. Their efforts have been largely successful. The amount of drugs that psychiatrists have been prescribing doubled last year, with most of the increase attributable to antipsychotic medications for children. The report mirrors accounts from other states that have observed similar increases in drugs being prescribed by psychiatrists.

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