$1,000,000 settlement for failure to prevent suicide where physician altered medical records

The husband and son of a 45-year-old woman who killed herself with a large knife will receive $1,000,000 from the family physician who was treating her for anxiety and depression. In the months leading up to the suicide, the physician had prescribed a series of poorly-chosen antidepressants, unaccompanied by other medications necessary to stabilize the patient to give the antidepressants time to work.

After Crowe & Mulvey requested the decedent’s medical record, the defendant made several hundred alterations to the electronic record over the course of two days before the record was produced. When we questioned the authenticity of the record, defense counsel responded with assurances that the defendant had not changed the record. At her deposition, the defendant also denied making any changes to the record. Crowe & Mulvey successfully uncovered electronic evidence of the changes, prompting settlement of the case.