The Forgotten PatientsRobert Langreth and Rebecca Ruiz, 08.26.10, 11:20 AM EDT
Forbes Magazine dated September 13, 2010
To end lawsuits for suicide because they contradict the modern, multi-factorial understanding of the causes of suicide, and indirectly hurt many unseen patients. The sole claim for suicide with merit involves assisting the suicide in violation of law.
This site is for defendants and defense lawyers in suicide malpractice suits, to improve defense expert testimony, perhaps to reduce losses in adverse settlements or verdicts.
These settlements and judgments devastate the practice of psychiatry. They cause the needless incarceration of thousands of suicidal patients without proof of benefit. The resulting defensive treatments consume a large fraction of the budget for wasteful treatment and starve proven preventive measures. These lawsuits are also morally wrong. They extort money from the party least influential in the many factors causing the suicide of the victim, the clinician trying to help. If they continue, the most suicidal and neediest patients will be avoided.
Explaining modern, multi-factorial understanding of the causes of suicide in plain language may result in more common sense judgments from jurors. The defendant may also prosecute, with licensing boards and in court, attorneys promulgating "junk science." The frivolous, malpractice lawsuit, because of profound, indirect impact on medical costs and life threatening errors, is another serious ethical lapse.
In systems closed to attorneys (e.g. the military), the rate of suicide may be cut by a large fraction reliably, quickly, at almost no additional expense.