Residents of Pennsylvania see psychiatrists daily for issues with depression or other mental illnesses, but no one thinks their experience will end in a medical malpractice claim. Psychiatrists are often helpful because counseling, in addition to medication, can greatly reduce the negative feelings a person suffering from mental illness has; unfortunately, however, sometimes psychiatrists are no help at all. A woman is now suing a psychiatrist for medical malpractice after alleging that her husband was not treated properly for his mental illness, which ultimately led to his suicide.
A 54-year-old man, who was allegedly the victim of mental illness, attempted to get help for his ailments at a Pennsylvania psychiatric facility for a year, although he was never able to actually see a psychiatrist. The only help the man was able to get was from a physician's assistant, his wife claimed. The man had needed to be treated for severe anxiety, depression and paranoia accompanied by delusional thoughts.
At one time, the man was admitted to that facility for two weeks and was then discharged with a prescription for medication to treat his illnesses. After suffering from delusional thoughts and depression, the man eventually took his own life not long after leaving the facility. He had reportedly parked his vehicle alongside a bridge before jumping 192 feet to his death -- a death his wife said could have been prevented had adequate medical care been provided.
Doctors in Pennsylvania, as well as the rest of the United States, are required to take a hippocratic oath before they practice medicine. Doing no harm and preventing or treating illnesses is the most important part of the oath these doctors swear upon, but it may often not be upheld. The psychiatric facility said that the man had no appearance of an attempt at harming himself, which is why the situation was seemingly brushed off. His wife did not stand for this substandard medical care, however, and filed a claim for medical malpractice which is due to be heard in court at an upcoming date.
Source: Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Widow files lawsuit against counselors in spouse's suicide, Kathy Mellott, Nov. 11, 2013