A hospital patient, who was discharged, committed suicide following his release, as reported by the New York Law Journal in a March 14, 2014 article.

The man disclosed to his doctor that he was leaving his wife, and wanted to relieve this stress. The man also told his doctor that he was so miserable and worried and that he was unable to go to bed the previous night.  The man further stated that he thought about killing himself, but he could not bring himself to do so since he had kids.  The doctor recommended that if these thoughts came back, then the man should go to a hospital. The doctor then gave him medication and told him to come back in a few days.

The man later revealed to his wife that he wanted to die, so she informed the police, and they transferred him to a hospital. The man had taken a drug overdose, so the hospital kept him for observation. When the man saw a hospital psychologist, he did not admit to his suicidal attempt. Rather, he was released and was told to come back in a week and to see another psychologist. When he went back to his doctor for a follow up, he revealed the incident but did not talk about trying to kill himself.

The man tried again and was taken to the same hospital, and he was kept there for a few days. He was then taken to a psychiatric facility, and he said that he was no longer feeling suicidal, so he was discharged pending supervision from his parents and compliance with the treatment plan, which was not done. Then, there was a confrontation with his wife where the police got involved. After this incident, the man “was found dead in his car, with the engine running and a tube leading from the exhaust pipe into the driver’s side window.” An examination of his body showed he was poisoned by carbon monoxide and that he overdosed on drugs.  His former wife sued his doctors claiming they did not take good care of him, and they were unable to find his disorder. Consequently, they released him, and they gave him medication which helped with his suicide.

The doctors wanted the case dismissed claiming they had not “departed from an acceptable standard of care.” Also, they claimed the medication was properly prescribed. The lower court allowed the case to proceed, and the doctors challenged this. However, the appellate court dismissed the case claiming the doctors were complying with their duty; thus they were not liable.

If you or  a loved one were injured at the hands of a doctor, that professional may have committed medical malpractice. It is advantageous to contact an attorney as soon as possible after the incident so that he or she can explain your rights and help determine if what happened was an act of medical malpractice. Jayson Lutzky is  Bronx, New York Medical Malpractice attorney who has over 30 years of experience practicing law. To set up a free in person consultation, call 718-514-6619 or visit www.MyNewYorkCityLawyer.com for more information.