Mental health facilities play an important role in treating many important issues that are common in today’s world. They help treat individuals experiencing mental, behavioral, or emotional disorders including those dealing with addiction, depression, schizophrenia and many more. However, due to a number of factors including understaffing, improper supervision, negligent hiring, and many more, mental health facilities are negligently treating their patients more frequently and with serious and hurtful consequences.
When a mental health facility or employee neglects the standard of care and injures a patient they are treating, there has been an incident of medical malpractice and that patient should contact an attorney to discuss their options for bringing a lawsuit. As has been reported on by the Brattleboro Reformer, VTDigger, Seven Days and more, facilities in Vermont, including the Brattleboro Retreat, have frequently mistreated their patients with devastating consequences.
Since 2012, at least 3 patients have committed suicide while under the care of the Brattleboro Retreat, including a 13-year-old girl in 2014, a 39-year old woman in 2013 and a young man in 2012. The Retreat also came into the spotlight in 2019 when a mental health worker at the facility was sentenced to 4 to 15 years in prison after admitting to sexually assaulting a 15-year-old girl who was under his care at the facility.
All of the above cases involved claims of malpractice where the facility or employees of the facility were accused of treating their patients below the required standard of care. The standard of care is the level of skill and attention that must be provided by the average mental health provider in each particular situation. The concept can be difficult to define, but in general the standard of care has not been met if the harm you sustained should not have happened if the predominant standard of care had been met.
The duty of care that a doctor and staff owes to a patient is much higher than the duty one person owes to another. This is because of the contractual duty of the doctor and staff to provide the appropriate care to the patient, as well as the education and skill that makes him or her a trusted professional. When a doctor’s careless actions or inactions cause you or a loved one harm, malpractice may have occurred.
If this is the case, a patient is well within his or her rights to speak with an attorney and to bring a lawsuit for compensation for their injuries or suffering.
Sometimes the examples of malpractice are not as cut and dry as the examples listed above. With medical or mental health error being such a common occurrence, many patients often wonder whether their doctor has made a mistake while treating their injury or illness. Or they wonder whether the death or suffering of a loved one could have been prevented if doctors had acted sooner, treated differently or diagnosed an illness earlier.
To help guide you and to provide you with peace of mind, the best step you can take is to contact an attorney to discuss your treatment. An experienced attorney will be able to review your treatment and to inform you whether or not it would be worth your time to bring a case and to let you know whether or not you might be able to receive compensation.
Once you and your attorney have decided you have a claim worth filing in court, an attorney will be able to collect the necessary medical records to prove your case and provide you with the greatest compensation possible.
There are many different types of malpractice claims that can occur. To start, you must first have a doctor patient relationship with your mental health provider. Once a doctor patient relationship is established – through a consultation, treatment, or even through a number of phone calls – a provider owes a patient a heightened level of care that reaches the standard of care.
The manner in which the standard of care can be breached and a malpractice claim be valid usually falls into one of the following scenarios:
Our team has built a reputation for compassionate and fierce advocacy on behalf of our clients. If you or someone you know may have been the victim of malpractice by a mental health facility, you can reach Kramer Law by calling a 802-257-2221 or using our quick and easy contact form. We are also conveniently located in downtown Brattleboro at 42 Park Place if you would prefer to stop by. We are also happy to discuss your case remotely on Zoom if you wish.
As our client, we will take care of all of the legal, privacy and insurance related issues surrounding your case so that you are able to recover and work towards a better and brighter future.