We give you facts of an actual malpractice case. Submit your verdict below and see how your colleagues voted.
Could a patient’s violent act
have been prevented?
THE PATIENT. A man under outpatient care of the state’s regional behavioral health authority was diagnosed with schizophrenia, paranoid type.
CASE FACTS. The patient killed his developmentally disabled niece, age 26.
THE VICTIM’S FAMILY’S CLAIM. The death would not have occurred if the patient had been civilly committed or heavily medicated.
THE BEHAVIORAL HEALTH AUTHORITY’S DEFENSE. The violent act was unforeseeable, and the patient was compliant with treatment. The victim’s mother should not have left the disabled woman alone with the patient.
Submit your verdict and find out how the court ruled. Click on “Have more to say about this topic?” to comment.
Cases are selected by Current Psychiatry from Medical Malpractice Verdicts, Settlements & Experts, with permission of its editor, Lewis Laska of Nashville, TN (www.verdictslaska.com). Information may be incomplete in some instances, but these cases represent clinical situations that typically result in litigation.