General psychiatrists are medical professionals who diagnose and treat mental and behavioral disorders and difficulties. Similar to general practitioners and primary care physicians in the medical field, general psychiatrists are the first line of professionals involved in a patient's mental and emotional health. They frequently refer patients to specialists when their needs are great and well defined.
Precisely because general psychiatrists are the first people that many patients see, and because they are responsible for getting patients to the specialists who can really help them, mistakes made at this level can be disastrous in the long run.
Education and Licensing Requirements for General Psychiatrists
General psychiatrists have many of the same educational and training requirements of other doctors. They have to:
- Graduate college
- Enter medical school
- Graduate medical school with an M.D. or a D.O. degree
- Complete a psychiatry-heavy residency, often lasting up to 4 years
Some psychiatrists then complete a multi-year fellowship so they can claim a specialty in a particular field. This step is not a requirement for general psychiatrists, though, as they need a broader and more well-rounded understanding of mental and emotional disorders, rather than a specialized one.
Once all of these educational and training requirements are done, general psychiatrists have to pass Pennsylvania's board exam to become licensed to practice medicine in the state. Psychiatrists then have to become board certified by the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology.
How General Psychiatrists Practice Medicine in Philadelphia
Most general psychiatrists work in private practice, where they see patients individually or in a group setting to help treat conditions like:
- Bipolar disorder
- Substance abuse
Unlike psychologists, who focus on the non-medical side of mental and behavioral problems, general psychiatrists are medical professionals who can help their patients by writing prescriptions.
How General Psychiatrists Commit Medical Malpractice
General psychiatrists can commit medical malpractice by providing medical care that falls below the minimum standards that one would expect. Whenever a psychiatrist fails to provide reasonable care for their patients, it can amount to malpractice.
One of the most common ways for a general psychiatrist to commit medical malpractice is to misdiagnose a mental or behavioral disorder. When they do not get the diagnosis correct, the true condition can continue unabated. Meanwhile, the treatment that is provided for the incorrect diagnosis can make things even worse.
General psychiatrists, however, can commit medical malpractice in other ways, as well. They can:
- Fail to monitor patients who have been given a course of treatment
- Making the correct diagnosis but providing the wrong treatment
- Not performing a suicide evaluation for a patient who is at risk
Medical Malpractice Lawyers at Gilman & Bedigian Serve Philadelphia
The medical malpractice lawyers at Gilman & Bedigian strive to legally represent the victims of medical malpractice in Philadelphia. People who have seen a general psychiatrist and who have suffered from their negligent care are likely to have suffered serious setbacks – setbacks that might not be able to be overcome. Contact us online to get started on your case and pursue the compensation that you and your family deserve.