Is this considered malpractice?

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Is this considered malpractice?

My girlfriend, who was medically diagnosed with depression, was seeing a family doctor. She was prescribed medication then moved to another state. She got a new doctor and told him everything that was going in and in her past. She asked for medication to he refilled because she was almost out. The doctor refused to prescribed medications until she saw a psychiatrist. He knew, however it would take at least 2 months to be able to see one. Fast forward 2 months and her depression was extremely bad. To the point where she attempted suicide. She was only able to get 2 therapy sessions in and was going to get a psychiatrist schedule on her next visit before her attempt. At the ER we were told that she should have never quit taken her medication cold turkey as it will bring her down to a new low and she should have been weened off of it. Her new family doctor knew she was depressed and had attempted suicide before but still refused to give her something to help knowing she wouldn’t be able to get any help for a long time and let her get to the point where she did and have to return to the hospital. Is that enough for negligance or no?

Asked on July 18, 2018 under Malpractice Law, Indiana

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

It is not likely malpractice based on what you write. Malpractice is unreasonably careless or negligent medical care. It is not unreasonably careless to require that a new patient--one whom this doctor had no prior history with--must see a psychiatrist before renewing a prescription for a medicine that doctor did not prescribe in the first place. The doctor had no way of knowing if the presecription was necessary or appropriate for your girlfriend without a consultation by a psyhiatrist (for example: he did not know or work with the prior doctor, and had no basis for knowing whether he prescribed a drug like this properly). It may not have been, in retrospect, the right choice, and it may not be the choice every doctor would make, but it is reasonable to require an evaluation before renewing another physician's prescription; for that reason, this is not likely to be malpractice, which requires an unreasonably careless action.


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