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.