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Husband Given Go-Ahead to Sue Doctor

Late in August, the Florida Supreme Court put forth a decision that Robert Granicz may go ahead with a medical malpractice lawsuit in the wake of his wife’s 2008 death by suicide. The high court stated in their written decision:

“Although the inpatient duty to prevent suicide does not apply here, there still existed a statutory duty…to treat the decedent in accordance with the standard of care.”

A second district court had determined that the case should move ahead two years ago. The Supreme Court upheld that decision.

Court documents show that the case is based on the 2008 suicide of Jacqueline Granicz. She had started taking venlafaxine in 2005 and stopped in 2008. She called Dr. Joseph Chirillo the day before her death, telling his medical assistant that she stopped taking her medication because she didn’t feel right and hadn’t in months.

Chirillo was given the message and changed the woman’s prescription. He did not schedule an appointment or speak to the woman personally. She did pick up her medication that day, but she hung herself the next. Attorneys accuse Chirillo of multiple infractions, including not speaking to the patient, not recognizing changes in symptoms, and not providing adequate medical intervention.

This is not the first lawsuit to have stemmed from a patient’s suicide, but it remains to be seen whether the case will be successful. There is a fine line between holding a patient responsible and placing mental health issues fully on the shoulders of the physician.

If you believe that you or a family member has been affected by a doctor’s negligence or error in New York, you may have the right to seek compensation for those injuries. Reach out to our team of experienced attorneys today.