Readers in North Carolina may be aware that Michael Jackson's physician is up against serious legal consequences for prescribing a lethal combination of sedatives to the legendary pop star. A more recent case may remind many of what happened to Jackson. Recently, the family of a noted philanthropist, Phyllis Harvey, is suing her psychiatrist for medical malpractice and wrongful death.
Immediately after Harvey's death, her loved ones remained quiet about the circumstances surrounding her unexpected passing at the age of 59. The woman had a history of issues with mental conditions and alcoholism. However, it was recently revealed that the very person who was entrusted to help her through her anguish appears to have contributed to her untimely demise.
According to reports, the psychiatrist prescribed high doses of Seroquel, a strong anti-psychotic medication, for suspected bipolar disorder or schizophrenia. This drug, however, is known to cause heart arrhythmia, and the woman died of a heart attack. Though other doctors took her off Seroquel after an emergency hospital visit, the doctor in question kept subsequently provided her with 180 pills of the drug over the course of 17 days.
In addition to providing massive doses of the anti-psychotic medication, the psychiatrist allegedly persuaded her to fund specific medical research while she was under the influence of the potent prescription drug. Apparently, the doctor convinced her to donate nearly $500,000 for research with which he was involved.
This particular case shows the importance of being able to trust a medical provider. Harvey was in need of help as the result of very serious medical conditions, yet her doctor intentionally took advantage of her confidence o secure funding, for his personal benefit, and died as the result of his ill-advised treatments.
When medical providers breach the trust that every patient counts on, there may be legal repercussions. Under the terms of North Carolina state laws, individuals or their loved ones have the ability to explore civil action if their health professionals fail to adequately do their job and demonstrate negligence.
- Insurance Journal, "Philanthropist's Death Sparks Unusual Lawsuit," Linda Deutsch, Aug. 6, 2012
- Our firm has experience navigating the state laws pertaining to medical negligence and doctor errors. For more information, please see our Raleigh medical malpractice page.