Illinois residents who struggle with mental health conditions and see a psychiatrist for treatment expect professional care. Unfortunately, just as it’s possible to experience malpractice seeing a doctor for a physical condition, the same can happen with a psychiatrist. These are the signs that you’re the victim of psychiatric malpractice.

Exploitation of trust

Trust is a huge factor in a psychiatrist-patient relationship, but if the doctor exploits that trust, alarm bells should ring in your head. The doctor should never wield their power over you, blackmail you or demand sexual relations. This is not only unethical, but it’s also illegal and considered malpractice.

Improperly prescribing medication

Psychiatrists are able to prescribe medication, but they must ensure that the right drug and dosage are in place. If either of these details is wrong and a patient ends up suffering harm, the doctor could be held liable. Psychiatrists are also required to advise their patients of the risks associated with any medications.

Failure to warn or protect

If a patient is known to be dangerous and a legitimate threat, the psychiatrist has a duty to warn third parties. Although there’s the issue of doctor-patient confidentiality, not reporting a dangerous patient could be malpractice if the patient acts on a threat.

Likewise, psychiatrists must prevent patient suicide. If they know a patient is suicidal and they fail to take action to protect them from self-harm, they could be held liable by the person’s surviving family members. This could result in medical malpractice and wrongful death lawsuits.

Forced action

Psychiatrists cannot force patients into taking medication or being committed to facilities through intimidation or manipulation. It’s unethical and can cause serious harm to a patient. This is one of the rarer forms of psychiatric malpractice.

Patients who suffer harm as a result of a psychiatrist’s negligence or unethical treatment may be able to file a malpractice claim for damages.

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