Husband and Father of Two Commits Suicide After Psychiatrist Prescribes Inadequate Dosage of Antidepressants; Settled for $840,000
A 39-year-old husband and father of two young children committed suicide while receiving psychiatric care for depression as a result of an inadequate dosage of antidepressant medication, and the psychiatrist’s failing to reevaluate his condition in a timely manner. The decedent first sought treatment for his depression from his primary care physician and was prescribed antidepressants, which led to both physical and emotional side effects. After two weeks, he returned to his physician, where he was deemed “not actively suicidal” and referred to a psychiatric specialist for further care. From June to July, the psychiatrist prescribed two different kinds of antidepressant medications and instructed him to return for further evaluation in 30 days. The patient died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound in August. Hodes Milman Liebeck represented the deceased’s wife and children, obtaining $840,000 for the victim’s family, arguing that the psychiatrist prescribed an inadequate dosage of antidepressant medication. If the psychiatrist followed accepted standards of care, the patient’s death by suicide would likely have been prevented.