Failure to Prevent Suicide

It is the Duty of Healthcare Professionals to take the Steps Necessary to Prevent Suicide

When experienced healthcare professionals do their job adequately, suicide can be prevented. When healthcare providers have knowledge, or should have knowledge, that a particular patient is at risk of losing their life by suicide, they have a duty to take the practical steps necessary to prevent a suicide attempt from occurring. The degree of a patient’s risk determines the steps that are considered to be reasonable.

Sadly, there are hospital staff members, nurses, and even doctors that make bad decisions about the safety of some patients. These mistakes can result in ineffective treatment which can intensify suicidal tendencies. If you have lost a family member as a result of a medical provider’s negligence in neglecting to prevent suicide, contact an experienced attorney that puts family members first. Sometimes lawyers are necessary for fighting to protect the rights of the vulnerable citizens of our society.

When Additional Intervention is required to Prevent Suicide

The lower a patient is at risk for attempting suicide the lower the amount of intervention is needed. When the treatment for mental healthcare is provided, the treatment plan may need to be changed from time to time, the number and frequency of visits a patient receives may need to be adjusted, the psychotherapy provided may need to be altered, or more effective medicines may need to be prescribed.

As the risk for suicide of a patient increases, it is the duty of mental health professionals to take steps that are more active. This can include educating family members of the risk and warning signs of suicide or contacting the patient’s friends or family members. In some cases they will need to ask questions about access the patient may have to lethal weapons like firearms, and to make certain any access to these weapons is eliminated. In the event that a patient’s suicide risk is high, the duty of the mental health professional is to hospitalize the patient. If this cannot be done voluntarily, it may be necessary to seek commitment against the patient’s will.

Hospital Staff Responsibility

If a patient has been hospitalized due to existing suicidal tendencies, any possibility of the patient committing suicide should be eliminated. The fact is, suicides do happen. The frequency in which suicides occur is quite alarming, and they usually happen by hanging. It is the duty of the hospital staff to make certain any access to lethal means the patient may have is completely removed. In order to ensure the proper treatment is received, it may be necessary for the patient to be monitored one-on-one or be constantly in view of hospital staff, and make sure staff members are informed of any changes to the patient’s condition and risk of suicide.

It is the duty of mental health professionals to take all reasonable steps that are needed to prevent suicide. Even in patients that lose their life to suicide, a part of that person wants to go on living. Mental healthcare professionals must do everything possible within reason to help high risk suicidal patients get through the crisis they are experiencing.

Legal Professionals May Be Your Last Resort

Help to prevent suicides from happening in the future and break the cycle. Consult an experienced attorney that demands justice be served and truly cares about families.

Suicide Awareness and Prevention