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Watertown Suicide Malpractice Lawyers

Suicide Malpractice LitigationSuicide and suicide attempts are serious public health problems that devastate individuals, families and communities.

Sadly, suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the United States according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention's final data for 2013.

The U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services estimates that 11 suicides are attempted for every successful one. Depression and other mental illnesses, or a substance abuse disorder (frequently in connection with other mental disorders) are present in more than 90% of people who commit suicide.

There are few medical events more stigmatized or with more popular misconceptions and myths. Perhaps the most prevalent myth is that many or most people who have attempted suicide or expressed suicidal ideation are "destined" to commit suicide and nothing and no one can prevent it from happening.

In fact, the opposite it true: 90% of attempters do not go on to complete suicide. In fact, the majority of patients who are prevented from dying by suicide go on to lead rewarding and productive lives.

...attempted suicide led to 228,366 emergency department visits...

In 2011, it was estimated by Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration that attempted suicide led to 228,366 emergency department visits.

When a patient is admitted to a hospital's emergency department following a suicide attempt, doctors will evaluate the person's physical and mental health. This evaluative procedure is a complex, detailed, and time-consuming process informed by the physician's training and experience. It is an active process in which the clinician is evaluating suicidal intent and lethality, dynamic meanings and motivations for suicide, the presence of a suicidal plan, the presence of overt suicidal/self-destructive behavior, the patient's physiological, cognitive, and affective states, his or her coping potential and epidemiologic risk factors.

The process is complicated by the fact that most suicidal people are highly ambivalent - they wish to die and they wish to live. And, if they are planning to commit suicide, they may not be the most reliable sources of information on certain issues.

After a thorough assessment has been conducted, an individual treatment plan must be designed. Success is more likely when the treatment plan rests on a solid foundation of data and assessment. Psychiatrists (and other medical doctors or providers) in Connecticut have a duty to involuntarily commit a patient who is suicidal or poses and imminent risk of self-harm if efforts at encouraging voluntary admission fail.

Giving the evaluative process short shrift or failing to appropriately respond to the clinical presentation can be deadly.

In such instances a medical malpractice lawsuit may be necessary to hold a healthcare provider accountable and to ensure that the opportunities to prevent further avoidable deaths are not squandered.

For instance, a psychiatrist or other healthcare provider may be liable for failing to properly assess a patient's suicide risk by failing to learn about prior suicide attempts, suicidality, and feelings of hopelessness and anxiety, by failing to take into account the person's behavior prior to discharge from the hospital, or failure to adequately obtain and consider data from collateral sources such as the patient's family.