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My late husband committed suicide. For 4+ years the doctor refilled Paxil and Nadolol w/o seeing him.He has no Rx records.Case?

Kingwood, TX |

I called my late husband's doctor to request some medical information that would help me complete spousal benefit forms for the Teacher Retirement System. They needed to know if the reason Bob quit his job in Dec 2006 was due to his illness. I asked the doctor to check Bob's file to see when he was first diagnosed with depression/anxiety, or when he had first prescribed him Paxil and Nadolol. I left a very specific message for the doctor and called five days in a row trying to get an answer. On the fifth day, one of the office employees checked my husband's file for me and told me that there was no diagnosis of that type or record of either Rx for my husband. The last time he had been seen was 2006. I have Rx bottles dated 2010 shortly before his suicide. Malpractice or Liability Case?

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Attorney answers 3


maybe. you should promptly contact a reputable med mal lawyer in your area. if you do not know of one the texas trial lawyers association will have a list and your local county bar association may have a referral list. consultations are usually free. keep those bottles. good luck.


A lawyer's favorite answer is: "It depends". So... "It Depends" You might have a case against the doctor... First you asked this question: " Malpractice or Liability Case?". The short answer is they are the same thing, a malpractice case is a liability case where you are alleging that the doctor is liable because they violated the standard of care in treatment of the patient. Malpractice basically comes in two flavors: 1) Failure to diagnose, and 2) Violating the Standard of Care for that procedure, or treatment. I did a quick search on Paxil and learned that it may increase suicidal tendencies. I don't currently practice in MedMal, but not having been seen since 2006 for depression, and continuing to fill Rx for years sounds suspicious to me, especially given the allegations around Paxil. You should talk to a MedMal lawyer, I would also research the firms that are pursuing Paxil suits. But beware of a few things, 1) MedMal cases are very hard - the Dr's insurers fight like crazy, 2) Picking the right lawyer here is very important so be careful in your choice. Good luck, and my condolences on your loss...

All responses are intended to be informative legal information only. No response consitutes legal advice. There is no attorney/client relationship, unless a signed contract between the parties is executed.



The standard of care for prescribing meds is at least one face to face consult a year, isn't it? Please correct me if I am wrong. Thanks. Are these drugs controlled?

Sean Patrick Kuhlmeyer

Sean Patrick Kuhlmeyer


I don't know the answer to that question. I think so, but I don't know. Yes they are controlled. Talk to a MedMal lawyer.


Most likely you'd have neither a malpractice nor liability case. Remember that you are in Texas. Texas is different from other states. Extreme medical malpractice tort reform has been in place for a decade. As a result, these cases are extremely difficult to pursue even when the case of negligence is open and obvious.

Assuming you are the duly-appointed executor or administrator of the estate, you should be able to send a written request to the doctor for the entire medical chart. Download from google a HIPAA medical authorization. Sign & date it. Get a copy of the order appointing you as representative of your husband's estate. Send all of that with a nice cover letter asking for the chart. State that you are willing to pay reasonable copying charges. Send it cert mail/return receipt requested. This will get you the medical chart and you can read through it yourself.

If you find abnormal things in the chart, then go and speak to a local attorney. Whether you may have a claim involving Paxil or something falls under products liability law as opposed to med mal. You may want to visit with an attorney in that area of law.

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