Physician may be held liable for patient's suicide

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29 Aug 2016 - General

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I came upon this case and it got me curious - was it really a case of medical malpractice? In summary - a patient diagnosed with depression took venlafaxine (Effexor) for three years and then one day decided to stop taking the drug, as she was bothered by the side effects. She gave the physician's office a call, getting through the doctor's assistant. The assitant then passed this info to the physician. The physician didn't schedule an appointment, but only changed her prescription and said that she could drop by his clinic that day and pick up some samples of escitalopram, the new drug prescribed. That same day, the patient picked up the items and then hanged herself. The Florida court now says that the physician may be held liable, since he should have known that "patients who stopped taking Effexor abruptly had an increased risk for suicide." What are your thoughts on this? Do give the full article a read here:

Exactly, you cannot blame a physician for the failure or the refusal of the patient to take the medication. It is very unfortunate but after a patient is released and given a prescription, it is is role (as well as the family, indirectly) to comply. Like just a week ago a patient was telling me that her teeth hasn't been moving anymore and she's getting quite disappointed (she has braces) and I said it really takes time, just continue with the elastics. When I was telling my assistant to...
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I had to read this article myself. I definitely understand her husband's grief but that is a lot of blame to place on their family physician. I feel, as always, that there is a large communication gap here as this escalated really badly. "First District court in its decision and the petitioners "in their initial brief outlined testimony from the hearing on the motion for summary judgment which tended to show that the decedent's suicide was not foreseeable."---so here we ha...
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I find this disagreeable. Any patient on any given day can suddenly decide not to take a medication. Giving medications is primarily the responsibility of the people who surround the patient at home. A doctor cannot control who forgets or decides not to take a medicine. In this case, the exact thing happened. The patient decided not to take the medication. Then, she called the physician and was prescribed a new pill to take. The doctor gave her an alternative drug which she may tolerate more tha...
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This sounds ridiculous. Okay so the patient called the physician and told that she did not take the medicine. And assuming the doctor knows the side effects of withdrawal and that it can increase the chances of suicidal ideation, what else was he supposed to do. Stop all his work and visit the patient? Send a cab to bring the patient to the clinic? I think he did the right thing. He didn't ignore the call. He didn't ignore the fact that the patient has been off the meds for a while. He p...
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