Malpractice Litigation

Suicide and Malpractice Litigation
Common settings for suicides resulting in litigation

•Psychiatric inpatient units
•Correctional settings (e.g., jail; prison)
•Outpatient mental health treatment

May Increase Litigation
Lack of communication between clinician and survivors prior to suicide*

Psychoeducation re: patient’s clinical condition and suicide risk

Suicide safety plan: involvement of family

Availability of clinician: management of expectations
*Patient confidentiality issues

Reducing Likelihood of Patient Suicide &Guarding Against Malpractice Litigation
Meet the standard of care: Clinical Evaluation

Diagnostic assessment

Suicide risk assessment

Re-assessment

change in clinical condition

transition of level of care

Reducing Likelihood of Patient Suicide &Guarding Against Malpractice Litigation
Meet the standard of care: Treatment Planning

Additional diagnostic assessment

e.g., collaterals, psychodiagnostic testing)

Treat the psychiatric disorder and relevant symptoms

Involve family members in the psychoeducation & treatment plan

Suicide safety plan