Patient suicide is an unavoidable occupational hazard of psychiatric practice. Indeed, it is the rare clinician who does not struggle, even agonize, over the complex task of assessing and managing the risk of suicide in patients. Patient suicides account for the greatest number of malpractice suits filed against psychiatrists and for the greatest number of settlements and verdicts covered by professional liability insurers.
In this book, written by a clinician for clinicians, Dr. Simon, an established expert in psychiatry and law, offers - A solid, easy-to-understand review of how medical malpractice law applies to patient suicides. He discusses the standards of care physicians must meet, the conditions associated with malpractice liability, and how best to minimize risks of litigation. - Extensive references to peer-reviewed literature on suicide and recent malpractice cases, including those triggered by patient suicides, which give insight into the latest developments in both the scientific community and the courts. - Much-needed practical advice, including advice on working with suicide risk assessments and suicide prevention contracts, on treating suicidal patients in various settings (outpatient, inpatient, collaborative, and emergency), and on coping with issues arising in the aftermath of a patient's suicide (documentation, confidentiality, and survivor care). - Clearly defined risk management guidelines that will help clinicians avoid litigation or establish a sound legal defense if sued for malpractice. - Numerous case examples that make the theoretical discussions and clinically based risk management guidelines that follow come alive.
Rich in advice that draws on the author's more than 40 years of clinical experience, this book serves as an essential aid to clinicians.
About the Author
Robert I. Simon, M.D., is Clinical Professor of Psychiatry and Director of the Program in Psychiatry and Law at Georgetown University School of Medicine in Washington, DC, and Chairman of the Department of Psychiatry at Suburban Hospital in Bethesda, Maryland.