When Your Therapist Is Guilty of Medical Malpractice

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When it comes to medical malpractice, most people think about a physician who makes an error in diagnosing, treating, or managing a physical injury or illness.

What they may not realize is that a therapist who cares for their patientsí mental health and well-being can also be guilty of medical malpractice. They are licensed medical professionals who provide an important form of healthcare to patients with mental and emotional issues and illnesses. If the care they provide is negligent, or jeopardizes the patientís health or safety, they may be
guilty of medical malpractice.

When a patient is suffering from a mental or emotional disorder, and they take the courageous step to seek treatment, they are placing their health and well-being in the hands of a trusted professional. Therapy often involves sharing some of the most personal, painful, and traumatic experiences, which can leave the patient feeling very exposed and vulnerable. Therefore, it is the therapistís responsibility to establish a relationship that is built on trust and mutual respect. When a therapist abuses that trust, or takes advantage of the patientís vulnerability, it can be extremely harmful to the patient. As a result, the patient may decide to sue the therapist for medical malpractice.

Common Forms of Malpractice Involving a Therapist

Therapists go through extensive training on how to conduct therapy sessions that are safe, productive, and do not harm their patients, particularly if they are extremely upset or are having an emotional breakdown. Even the slightest misstep can be harmful to the patient, which could lead to a malpractice case. The following are examples of harmful behaviors that could result in a medical malpractice charge:

- Sexually aggressive behavior toward the patient
- Character manipulation
- Failure to take thorough, accurate notes
- Misdiagnosing a patient to their advantage
- Offering advice that causes the patient to harm themselves
- Sharing personal, inappropriate details with the patient
- Breaking patient confidentiality

There are two types of therapists that provide treatment for a range of mental and emotional issues. Psychiatrists have a medical degree and may prescribe medication. Psychologists do not have a medical degree, so if the patient requires medication, they must be referred to a psychiatrist. However, both are qualified to help patients who are in a fragile mental state. When the care provided is harmful, or negligent, a skilled medical malpractice lawyer can advocate for the patient and ensure that their legal rights are protected.

One of Marylandís ďSuper Lawyers,Ē Paul Tolzman received his Bachelor of Arts degree in History from Loyola University Maryland and earned his Juris Doctor degree from the University of Baltimore School of Law. He was admitted to practice before Maryland Courts in 1977. Mr. Tolzman has extensive litigation experience in criminal/DUI defense. In addition, in the personal injury arena, his firm has recovered over $100 million for his clients.

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Disclaimer: While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of this publication, it is not intended to provide legal advice as individual situations will differ and should be discussed with an expert and/or lawyer. For specific technical or legal advice on the information provided and related topics, please contact the author.

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