A reform psychiatrist, Dr. Peter Breggin, writes on Huffington Post regarding the medical malpractice case of a 51-year-old high school basketball coach, teacher, and assistant principal, Joseph Mazella who suffered from a self-inflicted death. Mazella had been taking Paxil for his anxiety and depression as prescribed by their family physician, William Beals, M.D. without even having physical consultations with him.
Despite Mazella following their physician’s prescription, he started to feel anxious and depressed again, which made his wife, Janice, consult with Dr. Beals again. Beals suggested doubling the amount of Paxil intake along with the addition of Zyprexa (olanzapine), an antipsychotic drug. This, unfortunately, caused the patient’s death by overdose a month later.
The Mazella family then filed a lawsuit against Dr. Beals for prescribing medications without proper consultations, negligence of giving warnings on the serious health risks of Paxil and Zyprexa, and hastily abandoning his patient following his death. Aside from Beals, other psychiatrists associated with him were also charged with negligence. The case ended with the jury granting the Mazella family a medical malpractice verdict amounting to $1.5 million.
Suicide as Medical Malpractice or Negligence
When people hear of suicide cases, they usually hold the individual responsible for his casualty. However, if the suicide was perpetuated by forces external from the person, similar to the abovementioned incident, it’s considered as a medical malpractice case. For patients suffering from any mental or psychiatric disorder, proper diagnosis and medications are crucial in their medical treatment.
For the families left behind by patients who died due to incorrect prescriptions, failure to give information regarding possible effects of medications, and failure to administer proper health measures of health care provider, having an NYC medical malpractice attorney is essential in filing the appropriate lawsuit against the patient’s doctor.
While these are the usual cases, failure to conduct proper suicide risk assessment for suicidal patients is also among the acceptable and legal grounds for medical malpractice lawsuits. For better understanding of the law, consulting with an experienced medical malpractice lawyer in New York City, such as those from The Law Offices of Joseph Lichtenstein, should be done to receive justice for loved ones.
(Source: Jury Awards $1.5 Million in Suicide Malpractice Suit, Huffington Post)