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What constitutes an inappropriate relationship between an inpatient mental health client and a staff of a hospital?

Port Townsend, WA |
Filed under: Divorce Civil rights

If I was a client at Kitsap Mental Health from 2010-2011 and one of their staff befriended me--then told me I shouldn't tell anyone where'd we met--began to buy me things and show some interest in having a sexual relationship, and then attempted to convince me that I could not sue the agency because he'd signed a disclosure would it be best to contact a lawyer prior to informing Kitsap Mental Health?
Were one to have had the above experience and were looking for a lawyer to represent them--what should they consider in terms of the lawyer's background, experience, location, beliefs, statements, mediation skills, etc.?

Attorney Answers 3


A question you should think about is whether your goal is make sure any misconduct on his part is addressed by the clinic or licensing entities or whether you're trying to seek damages for harm caused to you. Keep in mind that his violation of ethical or professional responsibilities may not necessarily equate to a a right to sue for you--rather, the appropriate remedy may be some type of administrative action against him by the clinic or the state licensing authority (e.g., if he's a mental health professional in a position or career that requires licensing). If you are seeking damages for harm done to you, you should discuss your case first with an attorney (before contacting the clinic).

If you're seeking advice about bringing an cause of action against him an attorney that handles personal injury cases or medical malpractice cases may be able to assist you. If you're seeking advice about ways to make sure he his held accountable administratively (i.e., though the licensing or credentialing process) an attorney practicing in administrative law may be able to assist you. While a attorney could assist you long distance over the phone, if you need to pursue the case in a local court keep in mind that the costs of a local attorney could be lower (when you consider the costs of travel, travel time, etc.). Good luck!

Providing this general response does not create an attorney client relationship.

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The staff member may have violated RCW 18.130.180(24). The client can make a complaint to the Department of Health:
Depending on the facts, the client may also have a civil cause of action against the staff member and/or the facility.

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You should find a medical malpractice lawyer that has substantial experience with mental health care.

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