Monday, November 2, 2009

Illinois SC: No Duty to Wife of Patient

Paranoid schizophrenics kill about 2000 people a year. Current lawyer mandated commitment laws require an injury, rather than the need for treatment. The doctors thus cannot commit people, and has some duty to warn. This decision states there was no duty to the wife the patient killed, despite her involvement in his care. Other state courts would have held the doctors liable. Contrast this result to the cases in Massachusetts, where drivers with hypoglycemia and a brain tumor injured other drivers, and the doctors were found to have a duty to the third parties.

"Richard Street sought psychiatric treatment at Community Resource Center Inc. in 2003 after he reported thoughts that his wife was trying to poison him, court records said. Street told the doctors and hospital social workers caring for him that he planned to kill his wife, Teresa Street, and that he wanted to be admitted to a psychiatric facility. He changed his mind during the admitting process and returned home, while continuing his medication treatment.

Three days later, Richard Street was found lying over the body of his strangled wife. He ultimately pleaded guilty to murder and was sentenced to 18 years in prison, records show."

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