“Do no harm” is something that all doctors say when they become a doctor….
If a cardiologist prescribed a medicine that his/her patient was allergic to and the patient died, would the family be able to sue for malpractice win? most likely
If an oncologist did not present their patient with an option that they knew about, but could save their life and the family found out about it later, would the family win a malpractice suit? most likely
If a psychiatrist came to their office with obvious symptoms of tardive dyskenisia, a side effect of a medication they had prescribed and the psychiatrist did nothing about it and it became a permanent problem, would the psychiatrist get into trouble? not very likely
On the other hand, if someone went to see their primary doctor who had recently prescribed a medication and the patient showed signs or symptoms of a serious side effect and it eventually lead to a serious condition that could have been avoided, would the patient be able to sue? most likely
Let’s say a psych patient went to emergency room seeking help because they were really depressed, suicidal, hearing voices or told their doctor that they were so manic that they feel they might do something harmful to themselves or possibly someone else. Regardless of pleasto be admitted or at least evaluated better get ignored and the doctor tells them to go home. Is this doctor held accountable if the person leaves and kills someone, robs a bank, flies across the country with money they don’t have , has sex with people they don’t know, has a drug overdose, does something the voices tell them to do, etc? No
If a doctor ignored signs of a stroke or a heart attack, it could be deadly and if they did the family would win a law suit. However, if a doctor ignored symptoms of a mental illness and did not preventing that person from ending up doing something that could potentially be deadly, nothing would be done to that doctor. Although they did not prevent the person from doing something harmful to someone else or themselves, the medical community does not view mental illnesses and how they are treated or mistreated like they do heart attacks and strokes. Both could be deadly. However, it is excusable to ignore signs of schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, depression, etc. It is not okay to ignore signs of a stroke, high blood sugar, kidney failure, or heart attack.
If a psychiatrist saw a patient who told them they were depressed and suicidal and they dismissed it because they thought the person was making it up or not serious and they committed suicide, would the family win a malpractice suit? doubtful
If a psychiatrist told a patient to wait until Monday when the patient stated that they thought they were getting manic and they went and got in their car without sleeping for a few days and killed someone, would the doctor be held responsible in some way? I don’t think so. However, if a endocronologist did not advise their patient to go to hospital because they showed signs of a diabetic shock, they would most likely be held responsible if that person got in their car and ended up killing someone.
You probably see where I am going with this. I know the answers to most of these questions from personal experience and by hearing from other patients with mental illnesses. I can tell you that most of the time, psychiatrists are not held responsible. They are allowed to over-prescribe medications that they get kick backs from pharmaceutical companies, can misdiagnose, dismiss what their patients say, ignore symptoms, not be there for patients when in need with no one on call, and drop patients that won’t take medications that they recommend for various reasonable reasons.
Over-prescribing medications is common among all doctors because of the kick-backs they get from the pharmeucitical companies. It might be because they are uneducated about alternative ways of treating illnesses. However, other doctors can’t dismiss what their patients say and get away with it. They can’t ignore symptoms that cause harm and suffer no consequences, they have to be available for their patients or have another doctor on call and I would have to assume most would not drop their patients because they ask for an alternative treatment.
In the world of psychiatry, it is a whole different story. I know from personal experience and have heard so many horror stories. I don’t know the statistics, but I guarantee there are a lot more malpractice suits filed and won against “regular” doctors vs, psychiatrists. Psychiatrists hold their patient’s lives in their hands yet that does not seem to matter. Psychiatrists are not held to the same standards as other doctors and this is just wrong!