Mental Health Medical Malpractice in Oregon: Understanding Treatment System Failures
The advocacy group Mental Health of America ranked Oregon last for effective adult mental health services in the 2020 report. The state was ranked 47th for youth mental health services. Oregon behavioral health Director Steve Allen noted that the state’s failures “come at devastating human and financial cost.” This is because there are many cases of mental health medical malpractice in Oregon. This can result in serious personal injuries and the wrongful death of an innocent person in Oregon and our medical malpractice lawyers can help you with this.
A recent audit of Oregon’s mental health care revealed wide-ranging and systematic problems throughout the state. The problems included improper monitoring of $158 million in taxpayer money, incompetent leadership, lack of accountability, and failure to address the needs of communities. The audit noted incompetent leadership and a high turnover of mental health professionals. It cited real-life cases demonstrating the atrocities caused by the state’s negligence, including a 9-year-old child who, while in child welfare custody, waited more than 100 days for necessary intensive mental health services.
Mental health is a commonly overlooked portion of the healthcare system as a whole. Patients seeking mental health treatment are vulnerable and susceptible to the serious damage caused by the malpractice and negligence of medical professionals entrusted with their treatment and care.
These problems do not stop at the bureaucratic level and are indicative of greater problems throughout the state. When medical professionals fail to exercise the required level of care, the consequences can be immense.
Proving Mental Health Malpractice
In order to successfully demonstrate malpractice by a mental health professional, four things must be shown:
- There was a psychiatrist-patient relationship, creating a duty of care
- The psychiatrist violated that duty of care
- The patient was physically or emotionally harmed
- The violation of duty and harm is directly related
Forms of Mental Health Malpractice
Mental health professionals have a duty just like any other medical professional to provide patients with proper treatment. They are expected to bring no harm physically or mentally and must treat patients with dignity and respect. The list below includes common psychiatric malpractice negligence, but not all. If you suspect you or a loved one is the victim of psychiatric malpractice, contact our Oregon medical malpractice attorneys for a consultation.
- Improper/Unqualified Use of Techniques: Mental health practice is always evolving and progressing, which means treatment techniques are likewise changing to meet new needs and concerns. Therapists who use techniques improperly or that they are unqualified to use may be putting patients in harm’s way.
- Medication Errors and prescription mistakes.
- Ignoring the Standard of Care: Mental health professionals are required to abide by a standard of care. This includes ensuring patients understand and give informed consent, obtaining the necessary prior history, proper record maintenance, and confidentiality. If a mental health professional deviates from the standard of care, they are putting patients at risk and must be held accountable for the damages caused by their actions.
- Inappropriate Behavior: The mental health professional must maintain boundaries and treat their patients appropriately. They must never take advantage of or engage in a business or sexual relationship with their patients.
- Fraudulent Misdiagnosis: A difference between the diagnosis for treatment and diagnosis for the insurance company is a common sign of malpractice.
- Breach of Confidentiality: As with other medical professionals, mental health professionals must respect and maintain their patient’s privacy and must ensure all records are kept confidential.
Many psychiatric malpractice cases are unreported because the victims did not realize they had a case or realize the extent of the damage caused by a negligent mental health professional. If you suspect you or a loved one is a victim of mental health malpractice, you are not alone and our Oregon medical malpractice attorneys have the experience and compassion necessary to represent you throughout the course of your case. We focus on investigating the claim and proving medical negligence, so you can focus on your recovery and receive the compensation you deserve.
Contact Kuhlman Law for Help With Mental Health and Medical Negligence Cases
If you or a loved one have been seriously injured or killed as a result of medical malpractice contact the Oregon Medical Malpractice Lawyers at Kuhlman Law at our number below or fill out the intake form. We offer a free initial case evaluation and handle cases on a contingency fee which means that you pay no money unless we recover.
Our law firm handles negligence and malpractice cases throughout the state including Bend and Portland Oregon, Redmond, Central Oregon, Sisters, Madras, Multnomah County, Deschutes County, Salem, Eugene, Corvallis, Lane County, Medford, Gresham, La Grande, Albany, Medford, Beaverton, Umatilla, Pendleton, Cottage Grove, Florence, Oregon City, Springfield, Keizer, Grants Pass, McMinnville, Tualatin, West Linn, Forest Grove, Wilsonville, Newberg, Roseburg, Lake Oswego, Klamath Falls, Happy Valley, Tigard, Ashland, Milwakie, Coos Bay, The Dalles, St. Helens, Sherwood, Central Point, Canby, Troutdale, Hermiston, Silverton, Hood River, Newport, Prineville, Astoria, Tillamook, Lincoln City, Hillsboro, and Vancouver, Washington.
We also have an office in Minneapolis, Minnesota and take medical malpractice cases throughout the Twin Cities, including St. Paul, Hennepin County, Ramsey County, Dakota County, Washington County, Anoka County, Scott County, Blaine, Stillwater, and Saint Paul Minnesota.