Depakote Manufacturer Sued over User’s Psychotic Episode


After experiencing a deadly psychotic episode, a patient prescribed both Haldol and Depakote by his psychiatrist filed a malpractice suit. Though he had never previously exhibited any mental health issues, his past history of psychotic episodes caused his doctors to immediately place him on both medications. Tragically, after he began his medications the patient went on to have a psychotic episode where he killed his wife of forty years. After the episode he was diagnosed with frontal lobe dementia, and was adjudicated not guilty by reason of mental defect. His health care professionals were alleged to have neglected a proper diagnosis and treatment of his dementia, and the ensuing malpractice case utilized testimony of an internist with experience in working with the elderly to speak to standard of care and causation.

Question(s) For Expert Witness

  • 1. Are you familiar with the guidelines in diagnosing frontal lobe dementia?
  • 2. Have you treated patients suffering from episodes of psychosis, and are you familiar with the workup needed to diagnose an underlying cause of the psychotic episodes?

Expert Witness Response E-047630

Expert-ID: E-047630

As a Fellowship-trained geriatrician, I am familiar with frontal lobe dementia and have treated patients suffering from psychotic episodes. I am current with all applicable geriatric and internal medical certifications, and have been practicing for nearly thirty years.

Expert Witness Response E-008267

I am familiar with the issues of elderly care and treatment of dementia. Primary care and Psychiatric records covering the time period from when the patient first started exhibiting psychotic features or features of dementia to the present would be useful in order to comment more substantively.

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