Year: 2008 Source: Brief Treatment and Crisis Intervention, v.8, no.1, (February 2008), p.5-14 SIEC No: 20090644

This article reviews several American cases in which psychiatrists &/or social workers failed to protect patients. This includes failure to conduct a comprehensive biopsychosocial & lethality assessment, failure to warn of imminent risk of suicide, &/or breach of duty to care standards. Each case presentation concludes with recommendations for actions. Next, the article identifies common allegations made in suicide malpractice lawsuits. Conditions necessary to meet the criteria for a malpractice suit are laid out. The article concludes with guidelines for managing malpractice risk along with a decision-making flowchart designed to reduce the patient’s suicide risk during treatment. (13 refs.)