When to Sue Your Psychiatrist for Psychiatric Malpractice

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Sue Your Psychiatrist

A psychiatrist is a medical doctor, specializing in the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of mental illnesses. Their role is to identify as well as assess psychological issues. They study how both mental and physical characteristics play a role in one’s mental health.

However, despite the professionalism and commitment most psychiatrists display to their patients, there are those who exhibit different qualities. If you have a mental disorder and believe a psychiatrist has treated you incorrectly, there is an avenue for you to pursue justice. This article covers examples of psychiatric malpractice and discusses when it is acceptable to sue your psychiatrist for psychiatric negligence.

Let’s Begin.

What is Malpractice?

Malpractice, in short, is negligence. It refers to indecent, unlawful, and offensive behavior or treatment performed by a medical professional or another specialized expert such as a lawyer or public official. Psychiatric malpractice specifically, identifies the disregard and carelessness displayed by a doctor of psychiatry.

Reasons That Constitute Psychiatric Malpractice

As a patient, it is important to note that you withhold the right to be treated respectfully. Despite the challenges you may face with your mental health, you do not deserve to be mistreated. Patients place their complete trust in doctors and the expectation held is that medical professionals will maintain a sense of professionalism while administering a proper diagnosis and treatment.

Unfortunately, this is not always the reality. Some doctors are dismissive and incapable of adhering to the medical needs of their patients suitably. When this negligence is displayed, their unprofessional conduct must be highlighted. The following are a few scenarios that can constitute psychiatric malpractice:

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Misdiagnosis or Delayed Diagnosis

Patients hold physicians in high regard. When they head to the doctor, they expect to receive professional care. They also anticipate for the medical professional to identify their medical issue and offer a correct diagnosis. Without the right diagnosis or treatment, a patient’s condition can be gravely affected.

Administration of Improper Treatment or Medication

When medical professionals administer any form of medical treatment or medication, it is expected that they do so accurately. Patients expect to receive the right treatment with the understanding that it is going to improve their current state.

Individuals do not await the negative consequences that can result from improper treatment. Instead, they expect to be cured or at least given the advantage of managing their illness and its symptoms. However, there have been situations where individuals have died, or their medical situation has worsened due to the use of incorrect medication. In this event, remedial actions must be taken.

Sexual Misconduct by Physicians

Sexual Misconduct refers to the abuse or exploitation of a patient sexually by a physician. Expressions of feelings or the actual act of sexual activity are considered harmful both mentally and physically, and it places a significant strain on the physician-patient relationship. Doctors are not to engage in any form of sexual activity with clients.

Unlawful Dissemination of Patient’s Medical Records

The information contained in a patient’s medical records is considered to be extremely confidential and private. Doctors are not to share patient information without their consent. Only lawful conditions such as government or court orders offer realistic grounds for sharing information. The details obtained from medical records such as births, deaths, and certain diseases are used for statistical data. Otherwise, patient information should not be shared.

Withholding Treatment Due to Race, Age, Gender or Sexual Orientation

Discrimination is unfair and unjust treatment based on a person’s sexual orientation, race, age, or gender is unacceptable. Doctors are expected to offer therapy to a patient regardless of any classification. Ethically, it is not acceptable for a doctor to withhold treatment. However, if a person is too young, mentally unsound, or incapable of making their own medical decisions, then another family member should assist in making these choices. Overall, a doctor should not refuse treatment without substantial grounds. Refusing treatment based on race, age, gender, or sexual orientation is unsound.

Many other forms of psychiatric malpractice can arise. These involve threatening a patient, failure to prevent a patient’s suicide through the implementation of suicide risk assessments, fiddling with or fabricating patient records and many others. Doctors have a professional status to uphold, and the expectation is that they will act accordingly.

What Are My Rights as a Patient?

While doctors have a job to uphold and are expected to operate ethically, it is essential to know that patients have rights. By understanding your liberties as a patient, you can be more informed of what is acceptable and identify when unprofessional conduct is apparent. Here is a list of your rights as a patient. These are also provided as the overall rights you have as a human being. Consider the list below.

The Right to Refuse Treatment

As a patient, you have the right to decline treatment as long as you are mentally sound and of an ideal age. However, refusing life-saving treatments for a child is not allowed.

The Right to Make a Treatment Choice

Patients reserve the right to be informed about the variety of medical options available to them. They are also permitted to choose the option they feel is best for them.

The Right to Be Treated with Respect

All patients deserve to be treated respectfully. This holds true regardless of their race, age, gender or any other factors. As professionals dealing with the public and various persons from different walks of life. The expectation held is that each will receive the respect and esteem they deserve.

The Right to Obtain Medical Records

According to the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, patients are entitled to obtain medical documentation.  These include lab test results and other records of interest.

Dyer, Garofalo, Mann & Schultz Are Here to Help

Dyer, Garofalo, Mann & Schultz is an Ohio law firm committed to helping clients receive the legal assistance they deserve. Whether you are dealing with psychiatric malpractice or any other form of unethical conduct, our team of lawyers and legal professionals can provide you with the legal support you need. For more information regarding our services, or for a free consultation, call us at 1-866-785-3149.


Quick Answers

What is Malpractice for a Psychiatrist?

Misdiagnosis or Delayed Diagnosis
Administration of Improper Treatment or Medication
Sexual Misconduct by Physicians
Unlawful Dissemination of Patient’s Medical Records
Withholding Treatment Due to Race, Age, Gender or Sexual Orientation

Learn More

What are Your Rights as a Patient?

The Right to Refuse Treatment
The Right to Make a Treatment Choice
The Right to Be Treated with Respect
The Right to Obtain Medical Records

Learn More


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