Medical Malpractice Verdict Seen as Powerful Message to Mental Health Providers

Monday, May 21, 2018 Mental Health News
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COAROPOLIS, Pa., May 21, 2018 /PRNewswire/ -- Stanley D. Truskie, President of the Mark D. Truskie Foundation, issued a statement

that the $2 million verdict on Wed, May 16, 2018 in favor of him and his wife, Marianne, as a result of the death of their son Mark, is a decision that will send a powerful and important message
to the psychiatric community, and to psychiatric clinics throughout the country. Mark lived at home with the Truskies and died at the age of 46.

After Mark's death on November 12, 2013, the Allegheny County coroner determined that he died from toxic levels of Celexa and Cloziral, two medications used to treat his mental condition. Mark's psychiatrist, Dr Grace Huang of the Staunton Clinic in Sewickley, PA, prescribed both medications.

"We were able to prove that Huang and the Staunton Clinic ignored two critically important FDA Safety warnings regarding Celexa, which is a medication known to cause sudden cardiac death when prescribed above certain doses," stated attorney Tyler Smith, representing the Truskie family.

"The evidence demonstrated that Huang and the Staunton Clinic prescribed Celexa to Mark at twice the allowable dose without informing Mark or the Truskies of the FDA warnings, or informing them about simple and safe tests that could have been used to protect Mark from the increased risk of harm caused by his medications," Smith added.

Truskie believes there are several valuable lessons psychiatrists and psychiatric clinics should learn from this important case including the following:

  • Patients, and caregivers, must be informed of the side effects of the psychiatric medications being prescribed;
  • Warnings from physician instructions accompanying the medications, and FDA warnings regarding the prescribed medications must be communicated to patients, and caregivers;
  • Treating psychiatrists should ensure that periodic health exams are scheduled and completed for their patients, such as heart monitoring, drug concentration measurements, liver enzyme testing and other appropriate tests, especially when multiple psychiatric medications with known, dangerous side effects are being prescribed;
  • Referrals to appropriate specialists such as cardiac physicians, metabolic specialists, lipidologists, and nutritional counselors should be incorporated into the treatment plan of the patient;
  • Patients/caregivers should be alerted to signs and symptoms such as toxicity, heart arrhythmia, and other life-threatening conditions when such side effects are indicated by the medications being prescribed, and further, they should be instructed on what to do in an emergency; and
  • Managers and administrators of psychiatric clinics must ensure that policies and procedures are in place to guarantee these standard of care practices are in place and followed.

In closing, Truskie stated, "This award will help fund the Mark D. Truskie Foundation which we started in Mark's name to help protect the health and safety of those dealing with mental health problems."

Contact: Stanley D. Truskie, Ph.D. 412-979-8146

Cision View original content:

SOURCE The Mark D Truskie Foundation

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