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Malpractice Rx

Malpractice minute: June POLL RESULTS

Vol. 7, No. 8 / August 2008

Could a patient’s violent act have been prevented?

A man under outpatient care of the state’s regional behavioral health authority was diagnosed with schizophrenia, paranoid type. He killed his developmentally disabled niece, age 26. The niece’s family claimed the death could have been prevented if the man was civilly committed or heavily medicated. Was the behavioral health authority liable?

⋥ LIABLE: 11% ⋥ NOT LIABLE: 89%

What did the court decide?

The mother was found to be 39% at fault, the patient 11% at fault, and the behavioral health authority 50% at fault for the woman’s death and paid half of the verdict amount to the parents. A $101,740 verdict was returned for the niece’s mother and a $100,625 verdict was returned for the father.

Cases are selected by Current Psychiatry from Medical Malpractice Verdicts, Settlements & Experts, with permission of its editor, Lewis Laska of Nashville, TN ( Information may be incomplete in some instances, but these cases represent clinical situations that typically result in litigation.

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