When Negligent Mental Health Providers Cause Harm And Injury
It is relatively easy to understand medical malpractice when it involves surgical errors: Patients are literally physically injured by the medical professionals who should be healing them. However, it can be more difficult to understand psychiatric medical malpractice, in which the work of a negligent mental health provider results in serious harm to a patient suffering from mental illness.
Psychiatric malpractice may involve any number of medical professionals or medical facilities, including:
- Family practitioners
- Mental health facilities
- Private practices
Just as with physicians and healthcare workers of all kinds, these medical professionals have a responsibility to provide their patients with a certain standard of care, and to keep them safe and healthy in all of the ways that any comparable medical professional would. When a doctor does not meet this standard of care, he or she may be found negligent, and is therefore responsible for the results of the malpractice.
If you believe that you or a loved one has been harmed due to a medical mistake involving mental illness, we want to hear your story. Call Gladstein Law Firm today to speak to a Kentucky medical malpractice attorney and learn about your best options for legal action at (800) 991-0474.
Examples of Psychiatric Medical Malpractice
How can a medical mistake involving mental illness lead to real harm? You may be surprised to learn that there are numerous ways in which mental health professionals can take actions, make decisions, or fail to act so that their patient is seriously injured. While we cannot hope to cover all of these ways, there are some errors that are more common than others, including:
- Failure to diagnose a mental illness.
- Failure to recognize that a patient’s mental illness is growing worse.
- Failure to recognize signs that a patient is suicidal.
- Prescribing psychotropic and psychoactive medications negligently.
- Prescribing or administering treatments that are inappropriate, such as shock therapy.
- Failure to provide proper supervision.
- Failure to maintain an appropriate and professional relationship with a patient (undue familiarity).
- Failure to report a patient’s potential dangerous thoughts or actions.
- Emotional manipulation, such as implanting false repressed memories in a patient.
- Lack of informed consent.
- Breach of privacy.
These are just a few broad examples of psychiatric malpractice. If you believe that you or a loved one have suffered injury because of the actions of a mental health professional in any way, it is important to talk to a medical malpractice attorney about your potential case.
How can the above failures and abuses harm a patient? There are several ways:
- A poor prescription or medication error can lead to serious side-effects, dangerous drug combinations, and both physical and mental health issues.
- A misdiagnosis, or failure to supervise, can lead to a suicide that should have been prevented.
- Breach of privacy, emotional manipulation, or improper relationships can lead to emotional trauma and pain and suffering.
- Failure to report a patient’s dangerous thoughts or comments could lead to another party’s assault or homicide.
Failing to Prevent Homicide or Suicide
Sometimes, mental health patients are a risk to themselves and/or to others, resulting in suicidal or homicidal tendencies. It is the responsibility of healthcare professionals to take reasonable steps to prevent these patients from harming themselves or others.
A mental health provider may fail to prevent a suicide by failing to recognize and treat a mental illness – such as depression – by failing to recognize suicidal tendencies, or by failing to act after recognizing suicidal tendencies.
Somewhat similarly, a mental health provider may be responsible for the death or serious injury of someone else, if he or she failed to act after hearing a patient talk seriously about harming others. While patients do have a right to privacy and confidentiality, there are certain cases in which a therapist, doctor, or counselor must act under the law.
How Medical Malpractice Attorney Seth Gladstein Can Help
Psychiatric malpractice can hurt just as much as other types of medical malpractice – and it can result in comparable financial losses and other damages, including medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and loss of companionship. At Gladstein Law Firm, we are here to help you understand your case, find justice, and secure compensation from the responsible parties.
If you’re fighting against hospitals, insurance companies, and large organizations due to psychiatric malpractice, you may need an experienced Kentucky medical malpractice attorney on your side. Seth Gladstein has over a decade of experience in medical-related law, and he understands. Call our toll-free number at (800) 991-0474 or fill out our electronic contact form to request a free case review and consultation.
*Each case is different and the past record is no assurance that we will be successful in reaching a favorable result in any future case. Client pays costs only upon recovery.