Psychiatric Malpractice

The caring Maine psychiatric malpractice attorneys at Peter Thompson & Associates are recognized trailblazers in personal injury law. We are committed to helping victims harmed by psychiatric malpractice. Our medical malpractice attorneys provide premier legal service to injured patients and families throughout Maine.

Psychiatry is a burgeoning field. Studies show that Americans consume more than half the world’s supply of pharmaceuticals, many of which are antidepressants and psychotropic drugs. With the need for instant results and low-cost healthcare, we have become increasingly dependent on drugs to solve our problems. Many of these pills are selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors or SSRIs. Others are strong amphetamine-based drugs to treat ADHD. Psychiatrists often like to prescribe a cocktail of drugs to alter brain chemistry. But like most Western medicine, pharmaceuticals often mask the symptoms without solving the problem. Thus, the key to successful mental health is not just the pills, but the therapy and careful monitoring that go with it. Psychiatrists have a very serious duty to provide patients with reasonable care.

Examples of psychiatric malpractice may include:

  • A failure to monitor the patient
  • Aggressive or invasive procedures
  • A misdiagnosis or improper dosing of drugs
  • Sexual misconduct or harassment of patients
  • Abuse of doctor-patient relationship
  • Verbal or physical threats and abuse
  • A breach of confidentiality or privilege
  • A dilatory response to serious side effects

The intentional or negligent infliction of emotional distress is all too common in the doctor-patient relationship. But many cases go unreported because the most vulnerable patients are already unstable. Causing or exacerbating emotional trauma is especially egregious because patients depend entirely on doctors for care. Any abuse of power can have lasting effects on the patient’s mental health. In many cases, there is a basic failure to establish a doctor-patient relationship. Few doctors can diagnose mental illness without getting the patient’s history. This cannot be accomplished during a five-minute exam. Even if the patient is already in therapy, the doctor must still know the patient well enough to detect any changes or cause for concern.

Psychiatrists owe patients a duty of reasonable care. At the very least, this means spending time with the patient and asking relevant questions to determine the best course of treatment. It also means holding discussions with patients in strict confidence, unless the patients are likely to cause irreparable harm to themselves or others. When psychiatrists injure patients through an omission or misconduct, they are liable for harm. Malpractice specifically means the failure to exercise the degree of skill reasonably expected of a doctor in similar circumstances. In order to prove malpractice, the patient must show not only that the physician fell below the required standard, but that this breach caused the patient harm. This means there are no intervening factors that could have also caused the harm. Patients and families injured by psychiatric malpractice are entitled to compensation for their medical expenses, lost income, and emotional distress.

If you or someone you love has suffered harm at the hands of a psychiatrist, contact the experienced Maine psychiatric malpractice lawyers at Peter Thompson & Associates today. We are dedicated to helping you get back on your feet. While we cannot make up for trauma you suffered, we can ensure that any negligent parties are held liable. At Peter Thompson & Associates, we are not only top litigators, but caring advocates committed to helping you obtain the compensation you deserve. For a free, confidential consultation, call (800) 804-2004 or contact us online.

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