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Attorney 1
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Category: Personal Injury Law
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I recently attended a mental health evaluation per a

Customer Question

I recently attended a mental health evaluation per a condition of my probation for a drug charge. I received a copy of the medical records. I'm not certain about what the following means, but I interpret it as though she diagnosed me with a fabricated diagnosis because she assumed there was good reason why the courts referred me. Upon reading the medical records, I see under the category: Provisional Diagnosis: Assessment Period Admitting Diagnosis: Principal/Billing Diagnosis Ranking: ICD-9-CM Code Primary: 300.9 Unspecified Mental Disorder Non-Psychotic ICD-10 Principal/Billing Diagnosis Primary F99 Mental disorder, not otherwise specified AXIS 1 Clinical Disorders/Other Conditions that may be of Focus of Clinical Attention Ranking: DSM-IV Code DSM-IV Description Primary: 300.9 Unspecified Mental Disorder Treatment Services Needed: No Entry External Referrals: No Entry Risk Assessment: Threats of Violence: "History of victimizing others resulting in charges being filed and/or serious injury" (She insisted that this is how the law interprets drug crimes. I disagreed.) Please explain your interpretation of these documents/diagnosis. Please let me know what kind of recourse I have, if any, for false diagnosis or malpractice.

Submitted: 8 months ago.
Category: Personal Injury Law
Expert:  Attorney 1 replied 8 months ago.

Hello, and welcome. I am a licensed attorney and happy to assist.

From a legal standpoint, even with a false or misinformed diagnosis (I'm not going to attempt to interpret the diagnosis, but more on that in a moment) and though you may have been treated poorly or unfairly, there is no grounds for legal action. That's because (and assuming) this person evaluated you as a result of a court order and therefore wrote the report for the the court, not for your potential treatment benefit. The difference is that this person is not your treating provider and therefore has no obligation to you whatsoever, and is only acting as a type of informant for the court. The situation would be completely different if this was a private, treating provider.

As far as what the diagnosis/report means, that's outside the legal arena and you would have to either look up/
Google each individual segment, or perhaps copy/paste/post that portion of your question to the psychiatry department on this site as a separate inquiry. I can only advise on the legal issues, and that kind of interpretation belongs with the psych experts.

I wish I could tell you that the evaluating physician had some sort of legal liability for his/her conduct, but having accurate information allows you to make informed decisions going forward, which ultimately save you much time, money, and energy. Sounds like you have enough to deal with without a legal wild goose chase.

I hope this helps. If you need additional information or clarification, just let me know and I'll be happy to continue providing assistance. If I have addressed your issue and/or pointed you in a positive direction, please let me know that as well, and please remember to leave a positive rating when prompted, as that is the only way attorneys on this site are credited for the information we provide.

Good luck!

Best,

Attorney 1

Customer: replied 8 months ago.

I disagree about the court order issue in the first paragraph. This is a private treatment provider that I sought out on my own, paid for in full, to satisfy my probation obligation. They charged me full price($145/eval.) as a stipulation for court orders. This evaluation would generally be used as reference for follow-up treatment at their facility, except in my case, there was no follow-up treatment recommended.

It's funny that I did only submit this question to the mental health department, and no one answered it. I suppose that someone in the mental health dept. redirected it to the legal dept. I did Google all of the diagnoses and they are ambiguous and generic.

Please give me your response knowing that this is a private treatment provider that I selected voluntarily and paid for myself.

Expert:  Attorney 1 replied 8 months ago.

Thank you for the additional information.

A private treatment provider that you hired yourself would owe you the same duty as an ordinary treating provider. If you feel you were treated unfairly, you could (1) address the issue directly with the doctor and request a revised report and/or further consideration; (2) bring the matter to the doctor's superiors, if any; (3) report the incident to your insurance carrier, if insurance was involved; or (4) file a report with the Medical Board of your state. This doctor's actions/report would not reach the level of malpractice unless the doctor substantially deviated from established norms or fell below the standard of care provided by other similar doctors in the area. If you feel strongly that is the case, you could bring a court action against this doctor for damages, but you would have to be able to prove both substandard care and resulting damages and would have a difficult time bringing an attorney on board. That said, you could bring an action yourself in small claims court, where no attorneys are needed.

I hope this helps. If you need additional information or clarification, just let me know and I'll be happy to continue providing assistance. If I have addressed your issue and/or pointed you in a positive direction, please let me know that as well, and please remember to leave a positive rating when prompted, as that is the only way attorneys on this site are credited for the information we provide.

Good luck!

Best,

Attorney 1