Most people probably associate medical malpractice with a hospital or nursing home, but the reality is that malpractice can occur in a variety of settings. One such setting is the arena of mental health. Much has been reported in the news lately regarding Americans' mental health, and with ongoing issues such as an uncertain economy many Pennsylvanians may be struggling with their well-being. For those who seek professional help, they may be interested to know more about
and psychiatric malpractice.
All types of medical malpractice involve the professional's duty of care towards his or her patient and a breach of that duty that results in some sort of harm. Instances of malpractice also involve a professional's deviation from the typical standard of care for their profession - for example, a surgeon using outdated methods when the majority of his or her peers are using newer, safer methods which have been accepted by the profession.
In the field of mental health care, there are many different examples of potential negligence that involve breaching the duty of care or deviating from commonly accepted standards. Some of these include improper maintenance of patient records, such as changing a record after the fact or opting against keeping a record of certain highly-sensitive visits.
Other examples include emergency issues, such as not following up thoroughly regarding a patient's thoughts of suicide or prescribing improper medications. A doctor error on the part of a mental health practitioner can range anywhere from taking a patient's unpaid bill directly to collections to failing to warn the proper authorities if a patient issues threats against a third party.
Finally, a misdiagnosis can also be an example of medical professional negligence, whether it takes place in a hospital, family doctor's office or psychiatrist's clinic. A misdiagnosis can be particularly troublesome as it can spark a chain-reaction of damage to the patient: a worsened condition if the proper condition isn't diagnosed early enough, for instance, or improper medications prescribed for the wrong condition.
Psychological and psychiatric malpractice can be very complicated and in some cases may require an assertive approach to demonstrate. Erie, Pennsylvania medical malpractice attorneys can further explain how these legal issues may relate to a patient's or family's situation.
Source: Psychiatry, "
What puts a psychiatrist at risk for a malpractice lawsuit?
" accessed Nov. 21, 2014