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Legislation could address the failure to diagnose mental illness

Many are aware of the dangers of a physician or other health care professional’s failure to diagnose cancer, heart attack, or stroke and the potential ramifications that can have for an individual in Providence. But in the wake of recent events involving random acts of mass violence, many are beginning to closely examine the danger in failing to diagnose symptoms of mental illness in an individual.

Lawmakers are now looking to sponsor legislation that would provide up to $20 million in grants to physicians, psychiatrists, and other healthcare professionals, as well law enforcement agencies to provide training in spotting the symptoms of mental illness in patients. One of the examples being cited involves the alleged shooter in the recent Naval Yard Shooting in Washington, D.C. that left 12 dead, including the suspect himself. Records show that the man had undergone mental health treatment with Veterans Affairs, and that police in Rhode Island had just last month been summoned to his hotel room, where he described hearing voices and that he believed they were focused like microwaves on him.

While the main purpose of this proposed legislation may be to help find those potential criminals in order to identify and treat their mental illnesses, it could also potentially raise the question as to whether physicians could be liable for not recognizing or misdiagnosing mental illness in a patient who later is prompted to act out violently.

While the issue of failure to diagnosis mental illness is still far from being resolved, that suffering from the results of a physician’s or other health care professional’s misdiagnosis of their injury or ailment may be entitled to compensation for their injuries and suffering. A personal injury lawyer with experience in medical malpractice cases may be the one you wish to go with if you choose to retain counsel.

Source: MSNBC “After tragedy, Congress zeroes in on mental health” Jane C. Timm, Sep. 18, 2013

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