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Can I sue my psychiatrist for misdiagnosis

Pasadena, CA |
Filed under: Medical malpractice

I'm a 58 yo physician who left practice 9 years ago for major depression....my psychiatrist did not feel I was bipolar, even with many hosp admissions for depression, and problems at work professionally.....the diagnosis of bp type II, was later made in 2005 by another physician.....when I returned to the original psychiatrist due to insurance reasons, he continued the dx of type II bp......then he downgraded me to bipolar disorder NOS (not otherwise specified)....a garbage basket.....he did not have me on a mood stabilizer ie lithium, and only treated me with lamictal and an antidepressant......I now have an excellent psychiatrist referred by my new internest who has me diagnosed as bp type I, mixed type....started me on Abilify including lithium which is standard tx.....

I have lost 9 years of professional income, and practice.....I plan to return....I feel the original psychiatrist has done me a great disservice

Attorney Answers 1


  1. As I am certain that you already know, arrival at any psychiatric diagnosis is more of an art than a science. In the post you refer to at least four separate diagnoses: major depression, bipolar, bp type II, bipolar disorder NOS and bp type I. You will need a psychiatric expert to document what was clinically presented on each occasion and that each diagnosis was outside the range of reasonable psychiatric opinion at the time.

    With respect to the claim for 9 years of income loss, you'll need solid documentation of the pre diagnosis income supported by at least 3 - 5 years of tax returns, an economist's opinion to a reasonable degree of certainty as to what your income would have been in that time period as well as a medical/psychiatric opinion that the psychiatric misdiagnosis was a substantial factor in the loss of income.

    Tough row to hoe, but that's the bare bones thumbnail summary of what would be required at a minimum in such a case. It is far beyond the realm of possibility to say, based on a one paragraph posting, whether you have a feasible case.

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