Archive for the ‘Press’ Category

Suicide Lawyer Appointed to National Board of Directors For Suicide-Prevention Group

Oct 2015

Nationally-recognized suicide attorney Skip Simpson of the Law Offices of Skip Simpson has been appointed to the Board of Directors for the American Association of Suicidology, a non-profit organization devoted to educating the public about suicide and working to prevent future suicides.

“I am honored to be chosen to serve on the board for this important organization,” Simpson said. “I believe I can bring a wealth of knowledge to this charitable group about the legal implications of suicide, particularly for cases involving the wrongful death of someone by suicide. I also hope I can do my part for the American Association of Suicidology to bring more awareness to this extremely important issue.”

According to the American Association of Suicidology’s website, the “AAS is a charitable non-profit membership organization for all those involved in suicide prevention and intervention, or touched by suicide.  AAS is a leader in the advancement of scientific and programmatic efforts in suicide prevention through research, education and training, the development of standards and resources, and survivor support services.”

The AAS’s goals match attorney Simpson’s focus at the Law Offices of Skip Simpson. As an attorney, Simpson focuses on teaching suicide prevention and prosecuting suicide malpractice cases throughout the country.

Death by suicide remains one of the leading causes of death for certain age groups in the United States. Among young people 15 to 24 years old, suicide is the second leading cause of death, according to the AAS. Overall, an estimated 41,100 people of all ages die each year due to suicide, according to the AAS.

In most cases, more can be done to prevent suicides, according to Simpson. “Most people considering suicide give clear warning signs before they act on such thoughts,” Simpson said. “That’s why it’s critical that doctors properly diagnose someone seriously considering suicide. There’s no room error when it comes to such cases. That’s why I’m honored to work with families dealing with the loss of a loved one and proud to serve on the board of at the American Association of Suicidology.”

Suicide Malpractice Attorney Skip Simpson Set to Speak About Legal Issues Involving Mental Health Care Providers

Aug 2015

Suicide malpractice attorney Skip Simpson will offer a legal perspective during the 2015 Annual Conference for Behavioral Health on Sept. 17 at the Airport DoubleTree by Hilton.

Simpson, who is based in Dallas but represents families who have lost loved ones nationwide, has been recognized as one of the nation’s leading experts on the legal aspects of suicide. He has been quoted in national publications including the Wall Street Journal and The Atlantic Monthly.

His presentation in September is titled “Thinking Failure – The Right Focus.”  Thinking failure means to imagine all the ways something can go wrong—before it does—and fix it.  Simpson had a 20 year career in the military where he learned about failure mode effect analysis as a combat crew member dealing with nuclear weapons.  NASA, nuclear facilities, and aircraft carrier crews are well versed in the concept.  The Joint Commission for years has stressed that Behavioral hospitals learn to think failure for patient safety.

Simpson will speak about how best practices inform legal protections and reduce risk, among other issues. One of the learning objectives of his presentation is called “Avoiding the fear or lawsuits.”

Simpson urges mental health providers to document their assessments of patients to avoid lawsuits and to reduce the risk of a patient dying.

“My goal as an attorney is not to threaten mental health care providers with lawsuits. I want to help make meaningful systematic changes. The system has been broken for a long time, but it can be repaired and is being repaired” Simpson said. “The law is on the side of care providers; it is not a stumbling block or something to be feared for those who practice safely. If they follow best practices in suicide risk assessment, management and carefully document their assessments and how they reach their conclusions on protecting patients, they will be protected against suicide malpractice lawsuits.”

Over 100 people die by suicide every day in the United States. According to the American Association of Suicidology, 41,149 people lost their lives from suicide in 2013.

Simpson notes that every suicide in a system is preventable. That’s why it’s critical for health care providers to do everything possible to prevent system failure.

“Families are not looking for someone to blame when someone dies by suicide,” Simpson said recently. “Lawsuits often happen when the family is upset and providers aren’t sharing information. What stops lawsuits? In most cases, good documentation, the provider’s explanation for what went wrong, along with an apology. Compassion goes a long way to avoid litigation.”

The conference is presented by the Association of Community Mental Health Centers of Kansas and Kansas Association of Addiction Professionals. For more information about the conference, visit

Suicide Lawyer Weighs in on Problems at Vermont Mental Health Facility

Jul 2015

National suicide malpractice attorney Skip Simpson says problems highlighted in news reports about Rutland Medical Health Services in Montpelier, Vermont, serve as a reminder that facilities around the country must take all steps to ensure the safety of patients – and now!

“Until there is a culture of safety instead of a culture of making a profit at the expense of safety nothing will change,” said Simpson.

Simpson commented on a July 11 Associated Press story published in the Rutland Herald and other publications (“Lawmakers hear of problems at Rutland Mental Health”). According to the article, Rutland Mental Health Services may close because of a pattern of deficiencies. These include improper use of restraints and failure to lock up medication. One client of the facility who had been on a waiting list for treatment for six months died by suicide.

“As an attorney who has represented families who have lost loved ones because of negligence by healthcare facilities, I see these types of patterns at other facilities across the country,” Simpson said. “I do hope that legislative efforts can lead to improvements. Often, a state is slow to react when a pattern of deficiencies comes to light.

“My job is not to file frivolous lawsuits against these facilities. I want to see healthcare providers do a better job of protecting their clients. Unfortunately, the mental health industry often is resistant to making changes that will improve safety and protect their clients. As a last resort, a lawsuit sometimes is necessary.”

In Montpelier, legislators have recommended that Rutland Mental Health Services be removed from its position as the Rutland region’s main provider of mental health services. According to the AP report, some members of the House Human Service Committee expressed alarm that the state had not acted more quickly to a series of abusive, life-threatening situations, including the suicide of a client.

Simpson said suicide is the third leading cause of death for young adults and the 10th leading cause of death for the general population.

According to the most recent statistics from the American Association of Suicidology, in 2013 41,149 people in the United States died by suicide.  That statistic breaks down to 112.7 per day.

The AAS states that Vermont ranks 10th nationwide in terms of suicides. There were 112 deaths in 2013, or a rate of 17.9 deaths per 100,000 population.