In November 2018, the National Rifle Association (NRA) taunted physicians by tweeting, “Someone should tell self-important anti-gun doctors to stay in their lane.” In response, physicians, including psychiatrists, insisted that firearm death, suicide, injury, and trauma are indeed our lane.
Psychiatrists often believe they are protected from liability when conducting third-party evaluations in civil litigation. However, the nature of the physician-patient relationship and the issue of associated liability is not that straightforward.
Although forensic psychiatry is a formal subspecialty, general clinicians are often called upon to perform the bulk of forensic assessment. As such, the need for some basic training in and knowledge of forensic psychiatry is clearer than ever.
Attempting litigation based on a claim of posttraumatic stress disorder can be difficult. What is the proper DSM definition of PTSD and in what ways can and can't it be used in court to properly defend a client? What should the role of the psychiatrist be in this process?