North Carolina – Psychiatry – Patient Expresses Suicidal Intent If He Were To Be Arrested

The North Carolina Medical Board was notified of an action taken by the Florida Board of Medicine against a psychiatrist’s medical license.

On 09/20/2012, a patient was arrested and charged with indecent exposure.  The patient indicated that if he were to be arrested, he would commit suicide.  The patient was involuntarily brought to the hospital where an ED physician was employed.

The psychiatrist admitted the patient for overnight observation and the following morning determined that the patient was not a suicide risk and discharged him back to the police.  The next day, the patient committed suicide.

On 03/13/2015, as a result of the patient’s suicide and information provided to the Florida Board, an administrative complaint was filed against the psychiatrist alleging that the psychiatrist had not performed a thorough examination of the patient.

On 08/18/2015, the complaint was resolved by a Final Order and Settlement Agreement.  In this agreement, it was noted that the psychiatrist was issued a letter of concern, ordered the psychiatrist to complete continuing medical education in risk management, and ordered to pay a fine.

The Board issued a public letter of concern, which was reported to the Federation of State Medical Boards.  It was not reported to the National Practitioner Data Bank.

State: North Carolina

Date: June 2016

Specialty: Psychiatry

Symptom: Psychiatric Symptoms

Diagnosis: Psychiatric Disorder

Medical Error: Underestimation of likelihood or severity

Significant Outcome: Death

Case Rating: 2

Link to Original Case File: Download PDF

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