Patients who seek the help of psychiatrists expect to receive competent care. In fact, these medical professionals are trusted with the task of helping their patients deal and cope with a wide range of mental health issues. Unfortunately, some patients not only deal with psychiatrist neglect but also deal with abuse. If you or someone close to you has suffered due to psychiatric malpractice, we can help. At Arfaa Law Group, you can rest assured that our Maryland psychiatric malpractice lawyers understand how to navigate these complex medical malpractice claims.
Psychiatry is the branch of medicine that diagnoses and treats mental disorders. According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, 1 in 5 adults (18.5 percent of all adults) in the United States experience mental illness in a given year. Additionally, 1 in 25 adults in the U.S. (4 percent of all adults) experience a serious mental illness in a given year that substantially interferes with or limits one or more major life activities. Like any other type of doctor, psychiatrists can be negligent as well. Some common forms of psychiatric malpractice include:
- Failure to properly diagnose a patient;
- Failure to properly treat a patient;
- Medication errors;
- Failure to prevent a patient’s suicide, self-harm, or harm of others;
- Sharing information without consent;
- Breach of confidentiality;
- Sexual misconduct;
- Abuse; or
- Negligent use of a psychopharmacological drug.
According to an article published by the National Institutes of Health, psychiatrists increase their risk of being sued by failing to properly assess a suicidal patient and by not responding to friends or relatives concerned about a patient’s suicide risk. If a proper suicide risk assessment has been performed, and it has been determined that there is a legitimate risk of suicide, a psychiatrist must take steps to prevent that suicide from taking place. When this does not happen, the consequences can be devastating for both the patient and the patient’s family.
Courts are increasingly recognizing the standard of care required for mental health care professionals. Psychiatrists have a duty to use reasonable care toward their patients, meaning the psychiatrist should provide the level of care that a reasonably prudent psychiatrist would have used in the same or similar circumstances. If a patient’s injury is caused by a psychiatrist’s failure to use the appropriate level of care, that psychiatrist will likely be liable for malpractice. If malpractice is established in a given case, the psychiatrist may be on the hook for damages, such as medical expenses, therapy costs, pain and suffering, lost wages, and any other losses resulting from the malpractice.
People suffering from mental health issues are vulnerable. When you seek the help of a psychiatrist, the chances are you are trusting that psychiatrist to help you through a hard time in your life or work through a mental health challenge. If you or someone close to you has been harmed by a psychiatrist’s negligence, you need to reach out to a seasoned Baltimore medical malpractice attorney as soon as possible. At Arfaa Law Group, we are committed to holding negligent medical professionals liable for the harm that they cause. For more information, call 410-889-1850 or contact us online.
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