The concern for and investment in mental healthcare is on the rise. As we acknowledge the power of one’s mind and its response to therapy, the field of psychiatry has gained value among medical professionals and patients alike. However, this area of medicine differs significantly from all others. It is one of the most intensely personal in healthcare, making an error in treatment particularly harmful. And so, as in other areas of medicine, a psychiatrist can be held liable for cases of medical malpractice.
- Exploitation of trust. The psychiatrist-patient relationship is one wherein the patient is made particularly emotionally vulnerable. Therefore, this relationship should be built upon trust and the psychiatrist’s responsible, compassionate, and ethical behavior. So, if the psychiatrist were to cross their ethical boundaries, exploiting their patient’s trust, they will be held liable. An especially severe example of this is if the doctor forms a sexual relationship with their patient. This is, of course, unethical and illegal, even under the circumstances of patient consent. However, this may also be grounds for medical malpractice as it can inflict emotional harm on the patient.
- Improper prescriptions. Psychiatrists often implement medications for their treatment plan. However, in the case that they prescribe the wrong medication or dosage, their patients may suffer extreme consequences. So, if under similar circumstances, a competent doctor of the same field would not have made that mistake, that doctor can be held liable.
- Third-party liability. Doctor-patient confidentiality holds extreme value in the field of psychiatry. However, in the instance that a patient shares with their healthcare provider their intent to harm or kill, that provider is obligated to break confidentiality and inform authorities. If they fail to do so, and their patient acts on their intent, they can be held liable.
As you and your loved ones seek care for your mental well-being, we hope that you are met with compassionate and competent care. However, in the case that your psychiatrist commits medical malpractice, there is help for you. Be sure that, in this case, to seek legal assistance. We at Raynes | Erickson are prepared to serve you with expert legal counsel and advocacy. Reach out today for compensation for your suffering in this difficult time.