Jury Awards $635,000 in ECT Malpractice Case


Appeals Court Affirms Dr. Breggin's Testimony

 
In June 2005 in Columbia, South Carolina, a jury awarded $635,000 in a malpractice suit against a psychiatrist who referred a patient for electroshock treatment. The hospital had previously settled for a small amount and the doctor who administered the treatment was not found negligent. The plaintiff, Peggy Salters, is a former nurse who lost her memory for many years of her life, including her professional training and the raising of her children. Her cognitive abilities remain impaired for new learning as well. She was found permanently disabled by the shock treatment. Mrs. Salters viewed the jury award as a victory for all victims of electroshock. It is probably the first jury award in an electroshock malpractice case. The fact that the referring physician was found negligent may encourage greater caution on the part of physicians who refer their patients to “shock doctors” for treatment. Dr. Peter Breggin was the medical expert on behalf of Mrs. Salters. The attorney was Mark Hardee (phone 803 799 0905).


The defendant appealed the case and the jury's verdict was affirmed by the appelate court. The court cited Dr. Breggin's testimony in concluding that the jury had not erred in it finding the doctor negligent. The decision of the court can be found here.

 
 
 

 

WARNING!

Most psychiatric drugs can cause withdrawal reactions, sometimes including life-threatening emotional and physical withdrawal problems. In short, it is not only dangerous to start taking psychiatric drugs, it can also be dangerous to stop them. Withdrawal from psychiatric drugs should be done carefully under experienced clinical supervision. Methods for safely withdrawing from psychiatric drugs are discussed in Dr. Breggin's new book, Psychiatric Drug Withdrawal: A Guide for Prescribers, Therapists, Patients, and Their Families.