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Did a doctor over medicate his patient to fund his project?

We want to trust our doctors. We want to believe that when we turn to them in delicate situations, they will be there to help us, always acting on our best interest first. When one Los Angeles woman slipped away in her sleep at the age of 59, her autopsy raised several uncomfortable questions.

These questions culminated in the filing of a lawsuit in Los Angeles that claims wrongful death resulting from medical negligence, fraud, fraudulent concealment and intentional infliction of emotional distress.

According to representation for the decedent's husband, the once model turned philanthropist died from sudden cardiac arrest as a result of what may be negligent prescribing.

The philanthropist struggled with both alcoholism and mental illness. For years the victim sought answers and alleviation from the pain brought on by what was possibly bipolar disorder, and early dementia or schizophrenia. In 2004 the woman turned to a University of California, Los Angeles psychiatrist for answers.

She appeared to trust the psychiatrist greatly, but after her death, some are questioning the doctor's motives. Reportedly, the doctor prescribed the woman a serious concoction of powerful psychotropic drugs. One of the drugs was known to change heart rhythms. Even when the woman was hospitalized and the hospital stopped her medications, the UCLA psychiatrist continued her on the prescriptions when she was released.

Reportedly, prior to the woman's untimely death, the psychiatrist told the woman that there was a possibility that he could cure her, but that he was short funds to continue the research for this curing invention. The woman then donated $490,000 in research funding, leading some to question if the psychiatrist continued treatment with the woman so that he could coax money from her.

Losing a family member is painful enough. Having to endure the knowledge that the loved one may have met their end prematurely due to another's negligence or possibly corrupt motives is unimaginable. If the victim's husband is successful in this lawsuit, he could be awarded compensation to cover both his loss, and his pain and suffering. This family deserves answers.

Source: MercuryNews.com, "Philanthropist's death sparks unusual lawsuit," Linda Deutsch, Aug. 4, 2012

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