The Atlanta Injury News Blog

Mentally Ill Man Who Killed His Mother Can Sue Psychiatrist

The family of a mentally ill man who killed his mother because he was taken off certain medicines, won the right to sue his psychiatrist for medical malpractice, reports the Associated Press.

Although Georgia state laws ban a criminal's family from profiting from a killing, Victor Bruscato's father had been arguing that an exception be made in this case. In his view, Victor Bruscato only killed his mother because the psychiatrist, Dr. Derek Johnson O'Brien, discontinued his son's anti-psychotic medication.

As a result of the unanimous ruling, Victor Bruscato's father will now be able to sue Dr. Derek Johnson O'Brien and let a jury determine whether or not his allegations have merit. In other words, after all the legal complexity, this is a straight forward medical malpractice lawsuit.

Medical malpractice occurs when a negligent act or omission of an act by a doctor or other medical professional results in damage or harm to a patient.

Negligence by a medical professional can include an error in diagnosis, treatment, or illness management. If the negligence results in injury, a legal case for medical malpractice can arise against:

  • The doctor, if his or her actions deviated from generally accepted standards of practice;
  • The hospital for improper care or inadequate training, such as problems with medications or sanitation;
  • Local, state or federal agencies that operate hospital facilities.

Of course, what is unusual about the ongoing case of Victor Bruscato is that the "harm" he suffered was actually the killing of his own mother by his own hand. Those facts make this case very complex.

But medical malpractice lawsuits, generally speaking, are not very easy to begin with. There are a host of issues involved in any claim: from the rapidity in which a case must be brought; to determining damages; to assigning responsibility to the right person. An experienced attorney is of great benefit in a medical malpractice action.

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