Mental healthcare professionals that treat patients for depression and suicidal ideation will often correspond with other healthcare providers that treat their patients. The failure to engage in such communications does not necessarily constitute malpractice if a patient subsequently dies by suicide, however. This was demonstrated in a recent New York case in which the court ruled that the plaintiff failed to show that a lack of communication proximately caused a patient’s death. If you lost a loved one due to inadequate medical care, it is in your best interest to talk to a Rochester medical malpractice lawyer about your potential claims as soon as possible.
Facts of the Case
It is reported that the decedent treated with a psychiatrist for several years. In 2016, he began treating with the defendant, who administered the decedent Ketamine treatments in an attempt to cure his depression. During the first session, the decedent expressly forbid the defendant from contacting his psychiatrist. In January 2017, the decedent requested an emergency appointment with the defendant; during the session, he reported suicidal ideation.
Allegedly, by the end of the appointment, the defendant did not believe the decedent was at imminent risk of self-harm. The decedent died by suicide two days later. His husband subsequently brought medical malpractice claims against the defendant, arguing that his failure to communicate with the decedent’s psychiatrist proximately caused the decedent’s death. The defendant moved for summary judgment, and the court granted his motion. The plaintiff appealed. Continue reading