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Family of Patient who Committed Suicide Wins Medical Malpractice Claim

A medical professional should never take mental illness lightly as it can lead to serious consequences such as suicide. A physician who fails to follow proper protocol to prevent a suicide may be liable for medical malpractice under New York law. If your loved one committed suicide and you believe it could have been prevented by a medical professional, you need to contact one of our reputable and hard-working Syracuse medical malpractice attorneys.

A Staten Island jury has awarded almost $10 million to the family of a man who took his own life six years ago after a doctor allegedly did not properly identify and treat his severe depression and anxiety. The patient had told the physician of his intensifying symptoms of panic attacks, depression, fatigue, extreme worry, concentration issues and weight loss getting worse in the days leading up to the suicide. According to the patient’s family, however, the doctor failed to recognize the patient’s condition was dire and did not properly assess the situation, which ultimately led to the patient’s suicide. The jury award was for the patient’s son and daughter’s loss of parental care and guidance, pain and suffering and lost earnings and benefits.

Medical Malpractice and Suicide

Medical professionals are trained to recognize warning signs associated with suicidal inclinations. In some cases, the patient has actually stated that he or she is feeling suicidal. When these signs are present, medical professionals are required to act in any way needed to avert the patient from harming him or herself. When a medical professional fails to act in a manner that would prevent the individual from harming him or herself, that medical professional may be liable for medical malpractice.

Establishing medical malpractice requires more than proving a medical error was made or that a patient suffered a poor outcome. Under New York law, the plaintiff is required to demonstrate each and every one of the following elements by a preponderance of the evidence to win a medical malpractice claim:

  • The doctor owed the patient a duty of care (i.e., this can typically be shown by the existence of a doctor-patient relationship);
  • The doctor breached the duty of care (i.e., the doctor failed to use the accepted standard of care in his or her specialty);
  • The doctor’s breach was a direct and proximate cause of the patient’s harm; and
  • The patient suffered quantifiable harm as a result.

Once these elements are established, the plaintiff may be able to recover a variety of damages such as medical expense, rehabilitation costs, pain and suffering, lost wages and disability.

Compassionate Syracuse Medical Malpractice Attorneys

If you believe medical malpractice was the cause of your loved one’s suicide, you need to reach out to a skilled Syracuse medical malpractice attorney who can help. At DeFrancisco & Falgiatano Personal Injury Lawyers, we understand that there is nothing more devastating than losing a loved one and that pain is made even worse when the death could have been prevented. You can rest assured that we will handle your case with the utmost compassion and competence. For an initial consultation, please call us at 315-479-9000 or contact us online.

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