Malpractice Psychiatric Malpractice Part II

In this last of a two part series we're going to take a further look at psychiatric malpractice and what it involves.Because of all the legal mumbo jumbo involved in psychiatric malpractice, it is hard at best and impossible at worst to give a number of general examples of what constitutes psychiatric malpractice. Because of the lack of "physical" evidence in psychiatric malpractice cases, these are very difficult to prove, especially when there is no actual physical harm, or at least physical evidence of harm to the patient. Because of this fact, psychiatric malpractice suits are very expensive and take years to prove.Also, as far as the plaintiff is concerned, the amount of money awarded in these type of lawsuits is much less than if a patient developed avoidable complications from a surgical procedure. Where a medical malpractice suit involving physical harm might end up in millions of dollars in settlement fees, the amount of money awarded in a psychiatric malpractice suit is usually in the hundreds of thousands of dollars at best.

Add to this the fact that because most patients who sue for psychiatric malpractice are emotionally troubled to begin with, these suits usually take a terrible toll on the patient's mental health. These factors have to be weighed before going ahead with a malpractice suit.There are many theories as to why juries in these type of cases award less money than to a person who has suffered a physical injury. The prevailing theory is that people are less sympathetic to someone who is emotionally traumatized than to someone who has lost a leg. Unfortunately, we live in a society where if we don't see the injury we don't believe any harm has been done, not realizing that psychological trauma can be just as painful as physical trauma.The truth is, the most successful psychiatric malpractice suits are the ones that actually do end up causing physical harm to the patient, such as the improper mixing of medications during treatment.

If, as a patient, you are looking to sue your psychiatrist for malpractice, or better yet, if you simply want to do all you can to avoid the situation ever coming up, here are some things you can do.Talk to your psychiatrist and have him explain in detail everything about your treatment and what he intends to do. Have this in writing for you to sign off on. That way if he does anything not listed you will probably have a very good case against him.Keep your own notes, diary, whatever, of each visit to your psychiatrist listing everything that he did during your visit. Don't leave anything out no matter how unimportant you might feel it is.

If you are in an inpatient unit make sure someone in your family or a friend knows everything that is going on daily. Have them keep your diary for you if need be.Ask to review your medical records to make sure that everything that has been given to you as treatment is actually in your records. If something is missing, ask why. Bring in an outside source at this point if the records are not corrected. Don't wait until things are totally out of hand.

Keep a record of all medications you are taking, including doses. Make sure you keep all your pharmacy receipts so you can show proof that you at least had the prescriptions filled.If you decide to file for psychological malpractice, get an expert or specialist in this field. Because this is going to be very hard to prove you are going to want someone who has a lot of expertise in this area.

Michael Russell
Your Independent guide to Malpractice

By: Michael Russell

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