Child and adolescent psychiatry
A 14 year old girl overdosed on over-the-counter (OTC) allergy medication after starting a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) antidepressant. I was asked to opine whether her suicide was the result of a failure of the prescriber to adequately warn the patient's parent of the increased risk of suicide and/or failure of the prescriber to monitor the adolescent's mental health while on the medication.
I was asked to determine whether there was a failure to adequately assess the mental health status of a 12 year old boy in a juvenile detention center, and whether there were any violations of the standards of care by the mental health staff which may have led to his suicide in the facility.
In another case, an inmate with a significant history of mental illness was found unresponsive in his cell, I was asked to opine whether his bizarre death by asphyxia on contraband food items was related to his underlying mental illness or simply an accident.
When a young lady was discharged from an outpatient day treatment program into the care of her father with a recommendation for further evaluation and treatment at a different facility, the young lady immediately attempted suicide. I was asked to review her treatment in the day program to determine whether the providers had met the minimum standards of care in her evaluation and treatment.
I was asked to evaluate the suitability of a particular room and its contents for housing an individual who was having a suicidal crisis prior to commitment to an inpatient mental health facility. I was also asked to opine regarding whether staff had failed to adequately supervise the patient, who succeeded in committing suicide while in their custody.
In a case which touched on many different topics, an inmate with a complicated mental health history and on multiple medications was found to have committed suicide in her cell. The inmate had just been informed her medications were going to be tapered, and I was asked to provide an opinion on whether the inmate's death was related to a failure of standard of care by the mental health providers at the facility in withdrawing her medication, or whether the facility was responsible for failing to adequately supervise its high-risk charge.
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