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Can I Sue My Dr.?

I was misdiagnosed. Seven years ago I went to a psychiatrist, miserable. I wanted help, I listed my symptoms, and she diagnosed me with bipolar disorder II rapid cycling. Fast forward from that date until now I have spent thousands upon thousands of dollars on meds and drs, and hours upon hours going through therapy for something I don't have. Nothing seemed to help. I'd tell my drs that I wasn't getting better, and they'd up my meds, but never considered that they had the wrong diagnosis. When I'd suggest something so brash, they acting like I was just delusional trying to get off my meds. I was labeled, and I couldn't get out of the cycle. It was awful! Finally, I was convinced that I was bp II, and I accepted the meds to the point that I couldn't function. IT was ruining my marriage, and I still wasn't getting better. Finally May 2013 I was reevaluated, and found out that I have PTSD from all the horrible stuff that has happened over time in my life. I'm finally making progress (slowly). Can I sue my drs? I'm so angry with them!

Replies

deleted_user
deleted_user

yeah. if you find out you can, give me the name of your attorney. because the same happened to me. and i almost died from a suicide attempt because of drugs that i should NOT have been taking.
those greedy bastards need to pay.
DeliAnnem
DeliAnnem

Anybody can sue; it's whether or not you win.

There's no physical test for mental disorders.

I'm sorry that happened to you, but they're not negligent- just trying their best. SO sorry their best wasn't good enough.

I'd say that if you want to go through all that, better to go after the drug company. Seriously.
MrMG
MrMG

Unfortunately people are misdiagnosed all of the time. If a doctor doesn't have all of the information regarding symptoms or incidents then it can be very difficult for them to get it right. It would be very difficult for you to prove that this doctor intentionally misdiagnosed you.
mujicaptsd
mujicaptsd

I was misdiagnosed with a dual diagnosis of bipolar & PTSD at first, took bipolar meds that damaged my kidneys, and then when I had to go off all meds to save my kidneys it proved the bipolar diagnosis I took meds for was wrong and the remaining diagnosis of PTSD was the right one.

The downside: my kidney damage and suffering the stigma for bipolar disorder in addition to the PTSD stigma we all experience. The upside: learning about COMPLEX PTSD and what it meant that I had it.

I could sue. However, the kidney damage was done when I volunteered to be part of a major university study and took experimental levels of bipolar meds. When I did so I signed a waiver. I could probably even win in spite of the waiver, but it would be an obstacle.

More than anything, I think about what suing would do to me. How hard it might be to find a therapist after that, what it would do to me on the stand to be cross examined as to my mental health. If I were destitute, I very well might.

But I'm working at a job I like and don't need the money and this time. So unless I become unable to work and have no alternative, suing is not on the table at this time, though it is my right.
DavidNRockies
DavidNRockies

As I've mentioned, I'm under a Court Order not to talk about the events that led me to Complex PTSD or to the Daily Strength board.

But ... there was a civil lawsuit ... that I should have "easily" won, because the law and the facts were both on my side.

Which is "all it takes" to win in court, right ?

But I didn't win. I never even got my proverbial day in court.

Lawsuits are like combat, unfortunately. No matter how well you prepare yourself for the battle, it's nearly impossible to fully integrate the concept of just how forcefully the other side (in this case, a system -- a bunch of very well-insured professionals/corporations) will respond.

It's equally hard to imagine the toll that it takes on you ... on me ... on us ... even if we start off "healthy" and "stable ..." to have this process be a huge part of your life, for years.

And if you are NOT well prepared for the battle (because you're underfunded, have a relatively weak attorney, or aren't in great shape, yourself), you'll be amazed when the other side brings overwhelming force to bear against you.

I could EASILY imagine that a civil suit -- which can easily go into the Appeals process, no matter how strong your case -- could, itself, bring on PTSD.

And ... if you're trying to fix yourself, medically or psychologically ... it can add an unbelievable additional component to those challenges.

I got an e-mail from an acquaintance, asking a similar question. I can't tell you what to do, here, but -- like my acquaintance -- I CAN tell you one possible outcome that you COULD be signing up for.

The process could take everything -- and I mean EVERYTHING -- away from you.

In the US "justice" system, it's very safe to say that the party with more resources wins.

It wasn't me.

If it isn't you, I can only say ... be extremely careful.

I wish you peace, health, and strength.
Annie71
Annie71

I agree largely with Deli...so sorry you went through that, but those doing the diagnosing have to do the best with what they have.

Only in a case of blatant intentional misdiagnosis...

There are no physical tests for DSM diagnoses, it's like evaluating someone with headaches for migraines versus a brain tumor with nothing to go on but a description of the headaches.

That being said, if your meds were not working, they need to listen to you and adjust accordingly. But also bear in mind that there are patients that do seek specific prescriptions for off-label use, or resist taking meds they actually need...so the docs have to keep that in mind too.

So unless the docs did this intentionally or with blatant negligence, it won't help to sue. And it will be awfully hard on you to go through the legal system. And you will have a hard time finding a therapist again if you sue your previous one(s).

I understand the anger, and I'd feel the same. Seems like, unfortunately, this stuff is often par for the course.
LoveAlice
LoveAlice

You could be misdiagnosed now. It's not like there is any different treatment for PTSD to begin with...
deleted_user
deleted_user

Sorry things have been this rough for you but I wouldn't waste my money on a lawsuit you won't win.

Doctors screw up all the time. So do the rest of us. No one is infallible.
Annie71
Annie71

********Just to add a small point of fact, the DSM does not delineate that PTSD must come from combat.********

It's just that the symptomology and treatment recommendations are more set up for PTSD, not Complex PTSD, which many of us here at DS have.

Some practitioners have diagnosed presenting Complex PTSD as DESNOS (Disorders of Extreme Stress, Not Otherwise Specified) or as some other NOS diagnosis.

Also, clinicians are not legally bound to diagnose solely from the DSM. In fact, I know of clinicians that have diagnosed Complex PTSD by name.

It's the insurance companies that demand DSM use.

But any way you cut it, diagnosis is not the same as treatment. Diagnosis informs treatment, but in the end it's just a name for a cluster of symptoms.

Some therapists actually refuse to diagnose and focus solely on treatment, asserting labels don't help heal people.

So in the end, if you get bad treatment, it's not just a diagnosis problem, it's a diagnosis, treatment, meds, and practitioner/patient fit problem.

Nobody is out to get you, just human and fallible.

Best to just find a better fit with someone else.
Community LeaderSunCloudJD
SunCloudJD

Psychiatric diagnosis can often change.... There are quite often concurrent things that go on... Actually more often then not... Now many will say that they don't want to 'label' a person now a days and I think it's for that reason

They treat symptoms that are presenting at the time a patient is seen
If you look up symptoms of many disorders they often have many of the same symptoms... So I think you'll have one heck of an uphill battle... You can certainly try if you really want to however lawsuits are very stressful and can go on for a very long time..

I think it's important to weigh the pro's and con's and I'd take into consideration how it will effect your well being and finding stability
I'm so sorry you're going through such a difficult struggle

Big hug for ya
deleted_user
deleted_user

If you do decide to sue a Psychiatrist, Psychologist, Therapist etc. Good luck. I have been diagnosed with (Literally) every mental disorder in the book.