The pain of losing a loved one cannot be measured. When their loss is the result of suicide, families are devastated and left to wonder what could have been done to prevent such a tragedy?

At The Weitz Firm, LLC, our compassionate failure to prevent suicide attorneys in Philadelphia are here to help your family through this difficult time. We understand the trust your family placed in a medical provider to help your loved one was broken.

Our dedicated lawyers can hold negligent health care workers accountable for failing your loved one. Schedule a free consultation today to discuss your case. We will fight to help you gain the closure you need and hold those responsible for your loved one’s death. You can contact us by clicking here or calling at 267-587-6240.

What is a Failure to Prevent Suicide?

The failure to prevent suicide is a branch of medical malpractice that holds physicians or nurses responsible if they fail to recognize and act when a patient is at imminent risk of harm.

Treating doctors and other medical personnel have specialized training to recognize the warning signs of suicide and self-harm. When a patient is under their care, as with most cases of involuntary commitment to a mental health facility or wing of the hospital, a lack of treatment or preventative measures can have tragic consequences.

A failure to prevent suicide attorney seeks to hold negligent healthcare workers responsible. The majority of suicides can be prevented by physicians and nurses through proper evaluation and timely interventions for high-risk patients.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:

  • More than 47,500 suicides occurred in the last reporting year
  • Suicide is the second leading cause of death for those between 10 and 34
  • Nearly two and a half more people died by suicide than were murdered
  • Most suicides are preventable

Unfortunately, many nurses and physicians fail to perform the suicide risk assessment properly, which may expose hospitals to liability in medical malpractice cases when a patient takes his or her own life.

“Yes, family members of a person who committed suicide may be able to file a medical malpractice lawsuit against the hospital or individual medical professional who had treated the deceased prior to the suicide,” says a Philadelphia failure to prevent suicide attorney from The Weitz Firm, LLC.

What Are The Symptoms Of Suicidal Behavior?

Suicidal behavior is preventable, requiring a comprehensive public health approach. The majority of suicides in Pennsylvania and all across the U.S. involve persons who:

  • Have previously suffered from a psychiatric illness such as depression, anxiety, or bipolar disorder
  • Have attempted to commit suicide before
  • Have had a problem with substance abuse
  • We’re coping with a major life change, including:
    • Divorce
    • Losing a loved one
    • Custody battle
    • Losing financial stability

Who Can a Failure to Prevent Suicide Attorney in Philadelphia Hold Liable?

Liability is a complex issue during a failure to prevent suicide claims. At The Weitz Firm, LLC, our attorneys will conduct a thorough investigation and determine all responsible parties.

In many cases, survivors of the person who committed suicide may be able to file a civil action against the physician or nurse who:

  • Failed to recognize signs that a person had an imminent risk of suicide
  • Failed to provide necessary treatment
  • Failed to prevent the person from committing self-harm that led to their death

More often than not, the most efficient preventative measure is an involuntary admission to the psychiatric ward of a hospital.

“Physicians, nurses, and other members of hospital staff should be able to recognize symptoms of suicidal behavior in the course of the suicide risk assessment,” explains our experienced failure to prevent suicide attorney in Philadelphia.

Suicide Risk Assessment: How Should It Be Performed By Hospitals?

In order to file a medical malpractice lawsuit against a healthcare provider who failed to prevent your loved one’s suicide, you need to determine whether or not an adequate suicide risk assessment was performed. Typically, when performing a suicide risk assessment, a medical professional will ask questions about the patient’s marital and personal life, including:

  • Are they experiencing any unique life stressors, like custody disputes or going through a divorce?
  • Are they experiencing any chronic health issues?
  • Are they struggling with substance abuse?
  • Do they have any experience with psychiatric illnesses or emotional suffering?
  • Have they previously attempted to commit suicide

As you can imagine, the person who is being evaluated as part of the suicide risk assessment is not the most reliable source of information. A responsible healthcare provider must gather information by speaking to the patients:

  • Family members
  • Friends
  • Co-workers
  • Treating or previously treating medical professionals
  • Law enforcement

Failure to get collateral information from the patient’s family members and other sources to determine the risk for suicide may constitute medical malpractice.

Consult Our Failure to Prevent Suicide Attorneys in Philadelphia

However, the suicide risk assessment is not the only thing a medical professional can do to prevent suicide. Our Philadelphia suicide malpractice lawyer from The Weitz Firm, LLC, explains that after the assessment has been completed, the psychiatrist or nurse has a duty to write procedures outlining the choice of medical treatment and other preventative measures if the patient is at moderate to high risk of suicide.

In some cases, sending a high-risk patient to the psychiatric ward of a hospital is the only viable option to prevent suicide. In other cases, medical management and counseling may be enough to prevent suicide.

Let our lawyers from The Weitz Firm, LLC, evaluate your case and determine whether or not a healthcare provider failed to prevent your family member’s suicide.

We understand no amount of compensation can bring your loved one back. However, holding responsible parties accountable for their actions may give you and your family the closure you need to move on. Any recoverable damages may help relieve some of the financial burdens due to your loved one’s loss.

Please, contact our Philadelphia failure to prevent suicide attorneys today and schedule a free consultation by calling at 267-587-6240.

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