Contrary to popular belief, medical malpractice doesn’t always involve physical injury to a patient. A lesser talked about, but just as important, form of malpractice involves that of a trusted medical professional pursuing a personal relationship with a patient, particularly in the case of psychiatric care. In a recent example of this, a former New York model who was seeking treatment for depression has successfully won her malpractice case after she had an affair with her married doctor while under his care.
Kristin Kahkonen Dupree, a married former model for Elite Model Management, sought treatment for her depression and anxiety in 2000 from Dr. James Giugliano, who was also married. Giugliano prescribed medication for Dupree and in 2001 the two began a sexual relationship which lasted approximately 10 months.
Dupree filed suit in 2004 claiming that Dr. Giugliano took advantage of her mental state and that the subsequent affair ruined her marriage. Her husband divorced her and she lost partial custudy of her child, which in turn caused her to suffer additional depression and anxiety.
Because of the inappropriate nature of the relationship between Giugliano and Dupree, a jury agreed that the case constituted psychiatric malpractice and awarded Dupree $500,000. However, the award was reduced to $416,000 to account for Ms. Dupree’s partial responsibility in the affair.
This case serves to remind us just how much trust we place in our physicians, and that when that trust is broken there are severe consequences to pay. If you feel that you have been a victim of psychiatric malpractice, or any other situation in which a medical professional has acted inappropriately in the course of your treatment you might be eligible to seek compensation for their actions. Talk it over with a medical lawyer to find out what your options are.