Two doctors, a father and son, are facing a lawsuit by the father of an Iraq war veteran who was their patient. The father asserts that the treatment his son received from them helped to cause his suicide. A trial of the wrongful death case is ongoing in court in Trumbull County, Ohio.
The vet was 25 years old when he took his own life. The doctors saw the vet monthly for eight months, with the final visit coming a scant 11 days before his death. The vet was diagnosed with depression and received a prescription for a depression-fighting drug, but one of the doctors has said in his courtroom testimony that at the beginning he wasn't worried about his mental health. Additional medication followed months later.
The lawsuit questions why the drugs were prescribed if there were no concerns about the vet's mental health and noted that the doctors also failed to take steps to obtain and consult with the vet's medical records from the Veterans' Administration. Rather than treat him for major depression, a witness for the plaintiff suggested the doctors, who were general family physicians, should have referred him to a psychiatrist.
If failure to adequately treat the vet did cause or contribute to causing his death, his surviving family may be able to recover medical and funeral expenses, damages for pain and suffering, and lost income and services. Wrongful death lawsuits compensate the surviving family economically for the loss of a loved one, although obviously, in the final analysis, no amount of money can really do that. It is only right, though, that the economic burden of an untimely death be shifted to the shoulders of the responsible parties rather than be placed on an innocent family.
Source: Vindy.com, "Champion family doctors testify in suicide case filed against them" Ed Runyan, Jan. 16, 2014