A psychiatrist, like all healthcare professionals, can make an improper diagnosis and suggest incorrect treatment for their patients. Wrong medications can be prescribed, as well as poor suggested advice. Their mistake can cause a lot of harm and the individual may suffer greater issues than if they had not gone to visit the psychiatrist in the first place.
So can a psychiatrist actually be sued for negligence and malpractice like a medical doctor?
The answer to that question is yes. Psychiatrists are held to a certain level of standard care that they should provide their clients. If this standard is not met, they may be liable for medical malpractice. However, it can be a very difficult road to prove their negligence.
According to FindLaw, a psychiatrist can be held responsible for not providing a proper level of standard care. Below are some examples in which there could have been negligence:
- Failure to diagnose a mental illness
- Poor treatment or lack of any treatment for a diagnosed mental illness
- Not reporting a threat of suicide by the patient
Often a psychiatric medical malpractice lawsuit resembles a standard medical malpractice claim. It must be proven that they owed their patient a certain standard of care, the therapist breached that duty, and this in result caused the patient some sort of injury or psychological damage.
Although the malpractice suit involving a psychiatrist can be similar to a standard claim, it can also be very different. It is often extremely difficult to prove the psychiatrist is at fault, especially if the damages are strictly psychological.
Several years ago the New York Supreme Court made a ruling in a case regarding a patient that committed suicide, concluding: “When a psychiatrist chooses a course of treatment, within a range of medically accepted choices, for a patient after a proper examination and evaluation, the doctrine of professional medical judgment will insulate such psychiatrist from liability.”
The court went on to note that “deviation from accepted practice can be difficult to delineate, particularly in cases involving psychiatric treatment.”
These types of cases are not impossible to win, but it is imperative that victims of psychiatric and medical negligence partner with a skilled medical malpractice legal team. If you believe that you or one of your loved ones has received poor psychological or medical care, contact the Tennessee medical malpractice attorneys at Gilreath & Associates today to discuss your case at no charge.