The parents of a 24-year-old man whose body was found by them hanging in his apartment closet after he had committed suicide have filed a medical malpractice lawsuit against their son’s health care providers who they allege misdiagnosed their son as having ADHD and treated him with inappropriate ADHD medications.
The parents’ medical malpractice lawsuit filed against two psychiatrists and their medical practices allege that the defendants misdiagnosed their son with ADHD; they prescribed inappropriate medications; they failed to properly monitor him; they failed to wean him off the ADHD medications; and, they failed to communicate with each other concerning their son’s treatment. The medical malpractice defendants have responded to the medical malpractice lawsuit by denying that their actions caused or contributed to the man’s suicide in November 2011 and denying that their care and treatment of the man was negligent.
The Underlying Psychiatrist Malpractice Claims
The parents allege that their son did not exhibit any clinical symptoms of ADHD as a child or while he was in high school, where he excelled academically and was an accomplished athlete. He attended college on a scholarship, where he studied biology, and graduated with honors in 2008. After graduation, he began studying in preparation for taking the medical school admissions test.
In 2009, the father learned that his son obtained a prescription for an ADHD medication from a health care provider and warned his son about taking the medication for a condition that his father believed his son did not have, but his son advised him that the medication helped him in his studies for the medical school admissions test. According to the parents, their son became addicted to the medication and his personality changed as a result.
After the son moved home, he obtained a prescription for ADHD medication from a family practice doctor, who also referred him to one of the defendant psychiatrists. The psychiatrist began prescribing Adderall and the dosage steadily increased over time. The father warned his son that he did not believe the son had ADHD, that he did not need medication, and that his use of Adderall was dangerous. According to the father, his son’s response was, “Dad, look, the doctor thinks I need it, I think I need it. He wouldn’t give me anything that was bad for me, and I’m taking it.”
Over time, the son’s behavior became erratic – he reportedly became obsessed with maps, climbed on the roof of his home and spoke about how the moon looked, and he would leave the house in the middle of the night and drive until voices in his head told him to drive back home. He was losing weight, sweating profusely, staying awake days at a time, and his relationship with his parents deteriorated.
In 2011, the son saw a neuropsychologist who reportedly found signs of schizophrenia and said that he should not be taking Adderall. The father confronted the psychiatrist who had been prescribing Adderall for his son, who agreed to discontinue prescribing Adderall while his son lived at home but did not back down from his ADHD diagnosis.
After the man attacked his father and police were called, the second defendant psychiatrist became involved in the man’s treatment and prescribed Adderall, over the parents’ objection. The man spent one week in a psychiatric facility where he was prescribed an antidepressant and medication used to treat schizophrenia (he was not prescribed Adderall during his stay at the facility).
In July 2011, the man returned to the first defendant psychiatrist who provided him with three prescriptions for Adderall, intended to last 90 days (the man did not advise the defendant regarding his inpatient psychiatric treatment or that he had received treatment from the second defendant psychiatrist, who had stopped prescribing Adderall). When the father confronted the psychiatrist regarding his son’s treatment, the psychiatrist agreed to stop prescribing Adderall for his son.
In November 2011, two weeks after the last Adderall prescription ran out, the parents found their son dead in the closest of his apartment.
If your loved one committed suicide after taking a medication for ADHD or taking another drug, you should promptly seek the advice of a local medical malpractice attorney in your state who may investigate your malpractice/drug claim for you and represent you or your loved one in a claim involving a medication, if appropriate.
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