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Medical malpractice claim vs psychiatrist is based on negligence

Psychiatric malpractice in Texas is treated generally the same as any other claim for medical negligence. If the psychiatrist rendered sub-standard, careless treatment to the patient and injured the patient as a result of that treatment, the doctor would be liable for medical malpractice damages to the patient. Many claims against psychiatrists attempt to collect for the suicidal death of the decedent while he/she was under the care of the psychiatrist.

Each case dealing with that general scenario will rise and fall on the vagaries of the facts involved. If the psychiatrist was working intensively with the patient, it may be easier to hold the doctor liable for damages. If there was little evidence that the decedent intended to commit suicide or that she was a danger to herself or others, it may be very difficult to hold the psychiatrist responsible. 

The foregoing principles generally frame recent actions taken against a psychiatrist located in the state of Maine. The Board of Licensure there suspended the doctor's license for 30 days because of his prescription practices, which the Board described as presenting an "immediate jeopardy" to the public. The action was temporary and awaits further proceedings to be scheduled to determine whether the Board shall take further action against the physician.

The licensing board had previously put the doctor on probation for his prescription practices regarding a 39-year-old female patient who took her life on Apr. 19, 2015. The patient had struggled with heroin addiction and numerous mental illnesses. Many prescriptions from the doctor were found at her bedside. The key in such cases in Texas and other states will generally be whether the doctor's treatment of the patient fell below the recognized minimum standard of care demanded and recognized by his/her peers under like circumstances. If it does fall below that standard, then it is medical malpractice.

Source:, "Portland psychiatrist with history of penalties is suspended over prescription practices", Gillian Graham, Oct. 11, 2017

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