As a Florida medical malpractice attorney, few cases are as factually complex as those involving the suicide of an hospitalized or recently-discharged patient. Our Fort Lauderdale personal injury lawyers most often review cases where the death is caused from surgical mistakes or misdiagnosis. However, when the death of a hospital patient is the result of suicide we believe that it is a preventable and avoidable event.
Some suggest that the increase in hospital inpatient suicides, especially among men, is due to shorter duration of admission, inadequate doses of medication and careless assessment of patients given permission to go off ward.
According to the World Health Organization, nearly a million people commit suicide every year worldwide. The primary risk factors are mental illness, depression and recent increase or sudden change in substance abuse. Surprisingly, the rates of suicide have increased by 60% over the last 45 years. Evidence shows that adequate prevention and restriction to common methods of suicide such as firearms and pesticides have proven to be dramatically effective.
The Suicide Awareness Voices of Education (SAVE) have identified five common misconceptions about suicide:
1. People who talk about it don’t do it.
2. Anyone who tries to commit suicide must be insane.
3. If someone truly wants to commit suicide, nothing will stop them.
4. People who commit suicide do not want help.
5. Mentioning suicide might give someone the idea.
If you are contemplating suicide or believe that a friend or family member is in immediate danger call 911 or the National Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK. Do not hesitate, even if you are worried about risking a friendship.
According to Primary Psychiatry, a group of patients did not attempt suicide during hospitalization but chose to end their lives almost immediately or soon after discharge. The most common methods were hanging and overdose. Furthermore, 397 deaths (40%) occurred before the patients’ first post-discharge mental health follow-up appointment in the community.