Does Medical Malpractice Apply to Doctors Treating Depression?

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Photo of a doctorThe case of Robert Granicz v. Joseph S. Chirillo, Jr., et al., Case No. 2D12-5244 (Fla. Dist. App. Feb. 19, 2014) showed that in certain cases doctors can be held liable for medical malpractice when treating depression.

A female patient that had a history of depression stopped taking her prescribed antidepressants due to the side effects that she was experiencing. She eventually called her physician’s office to communicate that she had not felt right since she ceased taking her antidepressants.

The physician simply decided to switch her antidepressants as a remedy to the situation. Unfortunately, the next day she hung herself in her family’s garage. Her family pursued a medical malpractice claim against the doctor and though initially the claim was dismissed, the family was eventually successful as the court of appeals level. In the ruling, the court of appeals iterated that the physician did have a duty of care to the woman, and a jury would need to decide the proximate cause and damage elements of medical malpractice. The case was then sent back to the lower court to comply with the court of appeal’s ruling.


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