On February 10, 2006, BABSR&D partners Robert L. Berry and Stephen B. Moseley successfully defended a local psychiatrist against claims of medical negligence and wrongful death brought by the surviving spouse of a patient who committed suicide after being discharged by the psychiatrist from a local acute care inpatient psychiatric facility. The patient was admitted to the facility for detoxification with a diagnosis of drug abuse/dependence and depression with suicidal thoughts. The patient was treated at the facility for 4 ½ days and discharged home with instructions to follow up with the defendant psychiatrist in his office and to participate in scheduled aftercare programs at the facility. The patient did not follow up with the defendant psychiatrist or attend the aftercare programs. The patient ultimately committed suicide 19 days after her discharge from the facility.
The lawsuit alleged the psychiatrist caused or contributed to the suicide by discharging the patient from the facility too soon and without antidepressant medications or an appropriate outpatient follow-up plan.
The week-long trial concluded with the jury deliberating for approximately 2 ½ hours before deciding on a verdict in favor of the defendant psychiatrist.