A psychiatrist who's accused of malpractice needs to understand that they need to respond quickly and professionally to these claims. It is a serious matter even when you believe that the patient is mistaken or is taking wrongful action against you.
You need to be prepared to consult with an experienced attorney as soon as possible because there are so many different aspects of these types of cases, and you may be curious about whether psychiatry malpractice insurance will protect you against claims made by somebody else.
When you undertake a relationship with a patient, you do so with a clear understanding of the many different rules associated with ethics. It is vital to have psychiatrist medical malpractice insurance in place in the event that someone accuses you of breaching the standard of care in your practice. Consulting with a knowledgeable attorney is also extremely important for any psychiatrist when they believe that they are about to be accused or have already been accused by a patient of getting involved in illegal or unethical behavior. The matter of responding to this is important because the evidence will need to be gathered sooner rather than later. Psychiatrists often get peace of mind from carrying psychiatrist malpractice insurance but also need to understand the circumstances in which it can and cannot be used.
Psychiatry malpractice insurance may be covered under your professional liability insurance policy. It is very important to read through the fine print and any details associated with your malpractice situation with your malpractice insurance so that you can recognize policy limits. Psychiatry malpractice may be different from malpractice that is performed by other types of medical doctors; however, psychiatrists are also bound by a high standard of care and their own set of ethics. It is often very difficult to prove that someone is engaged in psychiatric malpractice, but anyone who has been accused of this should protect their ability to practice and their reputation by responding quickly.
Types of Psychiatric Malpractice
Typically, malpractice issues in psychiatric practices have to do with an abuse of power or negligence. Abuse of power can occur anytime in which a psychiatrist has crossed a line in a relationship with someone or uses personal information that they learned about their patients to breach doctor-patient confidentiality by informing someone else of this information.
For example, a psychiatrist who hears that a patient hates their boss and then communicates with that boss this information is a breach of doctor-patient confidentiality. Negligence can happen as a result of failure to document patient information, failure to provide appropriate psychiatric medication, or misdiagnosis. Psychiatrists who take on too many patients are those who are most likely to be accused of psychiatric malpractice.
Understanding Abuse of Power
There are many different ways in which a psychiatrist can abuse their power over a vulnerable patient. Patients place a great deal of trust in their psychiatric provider and do not expect that these lines will be crossed. However, divulging details and failing to get the patient's consent, sexual abuse, using unnecessary restraint, abandoning the patient, threatening or abusing the patient, or engaging in a sexual relationship with a patient can all be indications of a violation of the doctor-patient relationship.
There is a special consideration for those patients who have indicated suicidal ideation. When there is a risk that a patient will harm themselves or commit suicide, a psychiatrist could be held responsible if they knew that the patient intended to commit suicide.
Impacts of Psychiatric Malpractice
Psychiatric malpractice can cause victims to suffer physical injury or emotional distress. Likewise, if a patient is given a drug that is not necessary for their condition, this could have significant serious side effects. Any patient who needs a prescription medication to treat their existing psychiatric issues but does not get it could also suffer from significant harm or possibly even death. The emotional trauma that prompts many people to visit a psychiatrist can be very difficult for people to grapple with when they believe that their psychiatrist has crossed the line.
What Psychiatrists Should Know About Malpractice Lawsuits
Psychiatric malpractice comes down to a number of different factors that the victim must prove in order to be successful in a lawsuit. Psychiatric malpractice is covered under medical malpractice lawsuits and requires the same kinds of criteria to file a successful claim, which is that: a doctor-patient relationship must have existed, that the patient must prove that the psychiatrist violated their duty of care, that the patient suffered harm as a result of doing this, and that the harm is linked to psychiatrist’s duty of care. Reading through an insurance policy associated with the standard of care and medical malpractice can help a psychiatrist determine whether or not they could be named in a lawsuit like this and what to expect as far as how to respond.