Volume 20, Issue 2 (April 1975)
Shock Therapy and Psychiatric Malpractice: The Legal Accommodation to a Controversial Treatment
Medical malpractice litigation in the United States is of increasing concern to both the medical and legal professions because of the increased frequency of litigation against doctors and the increase in the dollar amount of claims. Malpractice litigation related to shock therapy, however, is of less concern now than in previous years because of the development of neuroleptics (tranquilizers), psychostimulants, and antidepressant drugs which may be used in lieu of shock therapy for treating certain mental disorders [7–11]. The development of succinylcholine dichloride (Anectine®) and ultra-short-acting barbiturates (USAB) such as methohexital sodium (Brevital®), a fast-acting general anesthetic, has also contributed to the decline in shock therapy malpractice litigation because the proper administration of these drugs can substantially reduce the complications associated with shock therapy [12–17].