Did you know that a psychiatrist can also be sued for medical malpractice? In fact, they’re more prone than physicians.
Psychiatric illnesses are more difficult to diagnose than physical ones due to the absence of an apparent risk. A patient who claims to have obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) may either just be your typical neat freak or really have OCD. The wrong diagnosis can place many lives at risk, especially if prescriptions follow.
The Child Mind Institute, a mental healthcare organization based along Park Avenue, New York, enumerates psychiatric symptoms often mistaken for a disease, including inattention, sadness, and disruptive behavior, to name a few. Psychiatrists often associate them with OCD, autism, PTSD, hypothyroidism, anxiety disorder, and ADHD.
While psychiatric treatment usually involves intervention, drugs are also used. Some include antidepressants, benzodiazepines, stimulants, and anti-psychotics. Without any problem to treat, these drugs will only elevate or depress your physical and mental health to abnormal levels. Stimulants, for instance, can induce elevated heart rate and paranoia.
Damage Not Enough
Even when physical or mental harm is proven, lawyers say it’s not enough to justify a valid medical malpractice claim. You’ve only proven one of three elements necessary to equate a valid claim. The other two demand the establishment of a doctor-patient relationship and the failure of the practitioner to act professionally under such circumstances.
According to Joseph Lichtenstein, a medical malpractice attorney in NYC, taking expert advice outside a professional visit won’t put the practitioner liable. For a doctor-patient relationship to be established, as per legalese, the patient allowed the doctor to treat or examine him. Medical records will ideally prove that this relationship was established at the time.
The second is to prove that the practitioner’s actions isn’t standard protocol. Proving breach of the medical standard of care requires an expert witness to testify whether or not the practitioner had deviated from the normal procedure. Without an expert witness, the judge will often dismiss the case despite overwhelming evidence.
Trust a medical malpractice lawyer in New York City to gather the necessary resources to prove your case in case of psychiatric misdiagnosis. Mental symptoms should be given deep thought, primarily second opinions, before taking medications or undergoing treatment. Mental illnesses can, after all, deal a more permanent damage than physical ones.
(Source: “The Most Common Misdiagnoses in Children,” Child Mind Institute)