Most in Annapolis likely associate medical malpractice with errors committed by a doctor in the course of providing treatment. Suicide cases might be viewed as being completely separate from medical malpractice issues. Yet what about those cases where it is believed the actions of a health care practitioner created the conditions that led to one’s suicide? Given a doctor’s unique knowledge of clinical science, it might be expected that they would know better than to put an at-risk patient in position of receiving counsel, care or medication whose direct (or indirect effects) could be harmful.
That is the claim being made by the widow of late singer Chris Cornell. The former Soundgarden frontman took his own life in May of last year. An autopsy revealed there to be a significant amount of the drug Ativan in his system at the time of his death. Cornell’s widow claims that the doctor who had been providing her husband with Ativan prescriptions should have known that the doing so was dangerous, given that one of the drug’s recognized side effects is diminished impulse control and an increased risk of suicide in people who are addiction-prone. She goes on to say that the doctor know Cornell was prone to addiction due to him originally being referred to the doctor by the singer’s therapist to help him deal with substance abuse.
When patients entrust their care to a doctor, they do so expecting the doctor will strive to know more about them than simply their names. Instead, a doctor should have a strong enough knowledge of their medical history that oversights such as the one in the aforementioned case are not even a possibility. Those whose doctors fail in this regard might want to work with an experienced to initiate legal action against them.