This case involves a couple who separated as a result of the 68-year-old husband’s alcoholism. Several months after the couple separated, the man was hospitalized and diagnosed with wet brain, exhibiting signs of short and long-term memory loss. The couple eventually divorced and man was moved to an assisted living facility. It was alleged that he spent all the money he received in the divorce settlement as a result of his living situation. A physician with expertise in geriatric psychology was sought to perform an independent medical examination of the man to assess his mental state and determine the appropriate care.
Question(s) For Expert Witness
- 1. How often do you examine patients that have medical issues resulting from long-term alcohol abuse?
- 2. How would you make a determination on the status of this patient?
Expert Witness Response E-317419
I examine adults with medical (including psychiatric, cognitive, and behavioral) issues resulting from longstanding alcohol abuse on a daily and definitely weekly basis. My clinical practice is in several different settings- hospital, home, outpatient clinic, and nursing facility, and this is a very common issue that I encounter with my patients. I would be comfortable commenting on the patient’s prospective vocational abilities, independence, and overall best care placement options. I would first obtain as much history as I could by extensively reviewing medical history. I would perform a comprehensive psychiatric and cognitive examination of the patient, including the administration of validated, standardized tests to measure retained and impaired cognitive abilities. I would obtain collateral data from relevant sources. I would use this collected information along with my extensive experience in caring for patients with these symptoms to make a comprehensive assessment and recommendations which encompass medical, psychiatric, psychosocial, housing, and other logistical factors.