Mental Health Expert Witness Opines on Inadequate Patient Protection


Mental Health Expert WitnessIn this case a mental health expert witness was requested to testify on behalf of a plaintiff who allegedly assaulted during his stay at a mental health facility in Alabama. The patient had a range of mental disabilities that he was receiving care for at the facility in question. During his stay at the facility, he was housed in a wing of the building that also contained individuals with psychiatric disorders, but otherwise normal levels of intelligence. At some point, one of the other patients in the health care facility developed a compulsive obsession with the plaintiff, who became the victim of repeated threats of violence. Nevertheless, both the plaintiff and the defendant were allowed to roam the facility with relative freedom, even after staff observed the threatening behavior. Eventually, the plaintiff was assaulted by the other patient, suffering severe injuries.

Question(s) For Expert Witness

  • 1. Do you have extensive experience managing/directing psychiatric wards?
  • 2. What kind of steps and protocols are in place to to prevent this type of injury?

Expert Witness Response E-001060

I would be glad to review this case on the plaintiff’s behalf and have reviewed a similar hospital administration case before. I was the clinical psychopharmacology director of a major state hospital for 4.5 years and before that was the director of child psychiatric services at a mental healthcare center for 10 years. Concerns that are raised for me for this case is did the hospital know his history? Did the patient have a known history of abuse? Hospitals have a special level of responsibility to know the liabilities of each of their patients and put appropriate safeguards in case. All hospital should have protocol in place to keep patients from harming each other and themselves.

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