Psychology

What to do if you think your Psychiatrist is Guilty of Malpractice



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It's a tough call when professionals step over that line that divides them from a patient. Chances are that a patient on psychiatric medication can actually mis-interpret the message given by a psychiatrist, though being in a vulnerable position with no-one else to turn to puts the patient at even more risk.

Many psychiatric patients are isolated and alone, and the fear of reporting inappropriate behavior will keep them in the silent minority that say nothing. Here, there are many ways in which a psychiatrist could be considered as taking advantage of a patient's vulnerabilities, and it is important for the patient to have somewhere to turn to discuss what is happening to them, and the logic of the sequence of events that leads them to believe that their psychiatrist has crossed the line of professionalism into an area of malpractice.

Look at the ways in which a patient could perceive malpractice, and the area becomes even grayer and harder to define:

*Sexual attraction
*Taking advantage during hypnotherapy
*Causing the patient to become more dependent with the intention of fraudulent mis-use of their powers as a psychiatrist to trick the patient
*Power over patient to do things they do not wish to or to pay money they should not pay

There are so many areas in which a patient can perceive that their therapist has taken advantage that the only way forward is for the patient to lodge a complaint. This is unlikely to be effective if the patient doesn't follow some kind of logical pattern that can be upheld in courts as justified complaint, and may actually cause the patient more harm than help.

When a patient believes that the psychiatrist has acted in a manner that could be described as malpractice, their first port of call should be to discuss it in a preliminary appointment with their general practitioner, who will know them well, and to follow this up with an appointment with their lawyer and their general practitioner to discuss those issues they feel need addressing.

The American Psychiatric Association will be the body to whom an eventual claim is made, although by talking to their general doctor and lawyer, the accuser makes their situation clearer and has a chance to get their thinking into perspective, before making claims alone that they cannot substantiate.

If believing that a practitioner has crossed the bounds into an area of malpractice, there should be no contact with that psychiatrist during the course of investigations by the American Psychiatric Association, since this may jeopardise attempts to sue them for malpractice, laying an element of blame upon the patient for returning to the practice after the alleged incident.

The best move that a patient can make is to re-schedule future appointments or to cancel them with the secretary, while instigating their action against the psychiatrist in question. This way, the patient is given the space that they need away from the accused in order to compile their case with their lawyer without the added stress that future malpractice may occur.

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More about this author: Rachelle de Bretagne

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