Patient suicide is an unavoidable occupational hazard of psychiatric practice. Indeed, it is the rare clinician who does not struggle, even agonize, over the complex task of assessing and managing the risk of suicide in patients. Patient suicides account for the greatest number of malpractice suits filed against psychiatrists and for the greatest number of settlements and verdicts covered by professional liability insurers.
In this book, written by a clinician for clinicians, Dr. Simon, an established expert in psychiatry and law, presents a thorough examination of the clinical practices that best serve patients and that also protect clinicians from malpractice claims. He uses numerous case examples and extensive references to peer-reviewed literature on suicide and actual malpractice cases triggered by patient suicides to present the key concepts involved in coping with the risks associated with suicidal patients.
Dr. Simon examines how medical malpractice law applies to patient suicides -- the standards of care physicians must meet, the conditions associated with malpractice liability, and the best ways to minimize risks of litigation. He discusses suicide risk assessments and suicide prevention contracts and considers in detail the management of suicide risk in various settings: outpatient, inpatient, emergency, and collaborative. He concludes by describing what clinicians should do in the aftermath of a patient's suicide.Rich in advice that draws on the author's more than 40 years of clinical experience, this book serves as an essential aid to clinicians.show more