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Medical Malpractice

When does a medical professional’s behavior become inappropriate?

March 17, 2015

Illinois residents who seek psychiatric care place trust in their medical providers. Whether patients require counseling, prescription medication or hospitalization, their doctors have the responsibility to act professionally and in each individual’s best interest. The goals of the diagnosis and treatment should be to establish mental health. Medical malpractice lawyers in Chicago are aware that when a mental health professional harms a patient through negligence or inappropriate behavior, it could be an indication of malpractice.

A recent news story by mystateline.com reports that the State of Illinois has suspended a Rockford, IL psychiatrist for medical malpractice. In the complaint filed by the state, the doctor allegedly engaged in inappropriate sexual conduct that included sexual relations and sexually explicit texts. The alleged inappropriate medicines the psychiatrist prescribed were controlled substances that included Percocet, which is an opiate and a painkiller and is not typically used to treat mental health disorders.

Medications and doctor responsibility

Psychiatrists are qualified to prescribe medications to treat mental health disorders such as depression, anxiety or schizophrenia. When a diagnosis and medication are not compatible, it can cause severe reactions for the patient. An article published in the New England Journal of Medicine states that the second-leading cause of accidental death in the United States is prescription drug overdose. In many cases, the fault lies with inappropriate controlled substance prescriptions given to individual patients by fully licensed physicians.

According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, pain relievers such as Percocet are the top prescription drugs typically abused. When prescribing a controlled substance, any physician has a duty to protect the patient from the potential for medication misuse and abuse.

Boundary violations

Patients who visit therapists and psychiatrists are considered particularly susceptible to forming inappropriate bonds. Mental health professionals have an obligation to protect their patients’ safety by keeping the focus of the sessions on the patients and not sharing personal information, as medical malpractice lawyers in Chicago typically know. Many individuals with mental illness are vulnerable to advances from any person who expresses interest, and so professional boundaries must be kept firmly in place. A psychiatrist who abuses the relationship of trust to attempt to induce a patient to have sexual relations may be guilty of malpractice.

Medication and boundary problems may be difficult for a victim to identify. Determining whether a mental health professional conducted therapy in a negligent or inappropriate way can be challenging. A victim or family member who believes a psychiatrist may be guilty of malpractice should seek legal help. Medical malpractice lawyers in Chicago may be able to help identify the details and actions that indicate malpractice and recover compensation for medical expenses, emotional or mental distress and pain and suffering.

If you have been injured in a personal injury or medical malpractice accident, do not hesitate to contact the Chicago accident and injury law firm of Cogan & Power at (312) 477-2500 to schedule a free case consultation, so that we can help you begin the process of recovery as soon as possible. If you cannot come to our offices in downtown Chicago, we will come to you. And because we take cases on a contingency basis, you will not pay any fee unless we get you compensation.