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Sheehan and Durso Obtain Dismissal of Claim Against Addiction Medicine Psychiatrist for Discharged Patient’s Overdose Death

May 3, 2021

Noelle Sheehan (Partner-Orlando, FL) and Molly J. Durso (Associate-Orlando, FL) obtained dismissal of a treating psychiatrist in a case in which the patient’s estate alleged that the psychiatrist and inpatient addiction treatment center breached their duties to provide appropriate medical care, were negligent in their discharge of the patient, and/or created the “zone of risk” that ultimately led to the patient’s death. The patient, along with two other individuals, was involuntarily discharged from the facility for illicit drug use. The facility then arranged for the transportation of the three individuals to a motel and paid for them to stay in one room, where the decedent allegedly acquired various illicit drugs and died of an overdose the following day. The court found that no duty of care was owed to the decedent after being discharged from the program. Furthermore, the court found that the "zone of risk" argument advanced by Plaintiff must fail here because it was the patient and his addiction that created his “zone of risk,” not the defendants' conduct.

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