Posts Tagged ‘texas suicide attorney’

Military Suicides Higher Than Combat Deaths

New data released from the Pentagon indicates that in 2012,  there have been more active-duty soldier deaths attributable to suicide than combat.

Texas suicide lawyer Skip Simpson praises Defense Secretary Leon Panetta for putting his finger on one of the main problems of military suicides.

Last month, Panetta said military leaders need to be held accountable for prevention. He said suicide has become an epidemic in the military, with an average of one soldier a day committing suicide – about 33 each month. To raise awareness, he ordered the military to “stand down” for a single day.

These are men and women who put their lives on the line every day for us. We – and specifically the military leadership – have a duty to protect them from harming themselves, as they cope with the tribulations of returning home after living through the horror of war.

Service data indicates that Army soldiers in particular are struggling. The suicide rate among Army soldiers has tripled since 2004, with about 10 for every 100,000 a month in that year to nearly 30 for every 100,000 this year. In July, a record 38 Army soldiers committed suicide.

These figures don’t include the number of retired veterans, who reportedly commit suicide on an average of 18 per day.

Panetta was quoted by various media as saying that leaders must be sensitive to the issue and aware of the warning signs – and they have to be aggressive in addressing it. Seeking help, he said, must be viewed as a sign of courage, not weakness.

Unfortunately, this has not always been the case. Newsweek recently profiled a number of soldiers who had either committed or attempted suicide. One of the latter says that as he sat in the hospital after purposely crashing his motorcycle on the freeway, his father begged him to get help. When he went to his superior, he was told he could be sent to the on-base mental health unit, but that his career might be negatively affected. He was waiting on a promotion to commander, and told that seeking help could put his chances of that position at risk. He declined to get help.

Likely the superior who advised his subordinate not to go to the mental health unit was genuinely trying to help his subordinate by relying on his own experiences with the military. Until recently, going to a mental health clinic spelled the end to a military career. Often, security clearances were pulled, which was the kiss of death.

Until Panetta’s directives to the military leadership become operational and are religiously followed, military suicides will continue at the same alarming rates, Skip Simpson says. VA hospitals and clinics have received Panetta’s message loud and clear and are clearly superior in suicide prevention compared to civilian hospitals and clinics.

As a Texas suicide lawyer, Skip Simpson knows this is not how it should be, and it’s a positive step that the military is beginning to recognize this. But there is still a long way to go.

Part of prevention is recognizing the warning signs. Some of those include:

Sudden behavior or mood changes;

Writing or talking about death or ways to die;

Displaying risky or reckless behaviors;

Expressing hopelessness about the future;

Giving away valuables;

Making arrangements for pets or children;

Spending money erratically;

Withdrawing from others;

Preparing a will;

Sleeping or eating disturbances;

Increased drug or alcohol use;

Displaying rage, anger or a desire for revenge.

If you lost a loved one to suicide, contact the Dallas Law Offices of Skip Simpson, dedicated to holding mental health counselors accountable. Call 214-618-8222.

Mental Health Standard of Care Crucial After Suicide Attempt and Discharge from Emergency Room or Inpatient Psychiatric Facility

Psychiatric patients who have attempted suicide and are mostly likely to try again to end their lives are some of the least likely to follow up with mental health treatment after being released from a hospital, according to the Suicide Prevention Resource Center.

The resource center and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration recommend that a discharged psychiatry patient should be sent home with “linkage to certain and effective treatment,” according to the 2011 publication, “Suicide Attempts and Suicide Deaths Subsequent to Discharge from an Emergency Department or an Inpatient Psychiatry Unit: Continuity of Care for Suicide Prevention and Research.”

Unfortunately, even discharged patients with  suicide risk may not receive the follow-up psychological treatment they need.

Nationally recognized  Texas suicide lawyer Skip Simpson considers  standard of care (patient safety rules) for suicide patients to be of utmost priority at all times, including the days and weeks after an Emergency Department or inpatient  mental health facility discharges a patient.

Unfortunately, however, frequently suicidal patients do not always get the mental health care they need. “Many patients never make it to their first follow-up appointment,” says the report, “and many that do, do not remain in treatment long enough for continuing care to be successful. For both EDs (emergency departments) and inpatient discharges, the risk for suicide attempts and death among all age groups is highest immediately after discharge and over the next 12 months to four years. “

Simpson concurs. “The standard of care requires that all suicide risk assessments be documented in the record,” he explains. “If a clinician fails to perform, or improperly performs, an assessment, or if the clinician unreasonably underestimates the patient’s risk, she may well be liable if the patient dies by suicide, or makes a suicide attempt. Failure to take certain actions is unacceptable.”

With over 36,000 people taking their own lives every year in this country, it is vital for anyone who was recently released from a psychiatric unit or ED to follow up with proper mental health treatment. Those first few hours, days, and weeks after discharge are when a suicidal person is most vulnerable and may try to take his or her own life. Skip Simpson stresses this research perfectly matches what he sees in his practice over and over again.  He reviews about 50-60 suicide cases every year and hears suicide survivors say “if I had only known.”  This blog is an attempt to give loved ones the knowledge they need before a tragic attempt occurs.  It is also at attempt to give clinicians an opportunity to avoid the pain of having their patient seriously harm or kill themselves.

If you are a clinician who is reading this blog please get the training you need. Demand the training from your place of employment. If your employer will not provide the training because of budget concerns take the time to train yourself.  There is plenty of information on the internet to enable you to become more competent in suicide prevention.  Families are handing their loved ones over to you so you can keep them safe until they are properly treated.

If your loved one committed suicide or attempted suicide, whether as an inpatient or after coming home from the hospital or emergency room, you need an experienced suicide attorney. Call  Skip Simpson Attorneys and Counselors at 214-618-8222 or complete our online contact form. We understand what you are going through and can fight hard to pursue the compensation you and your family deserve.  Moreover, sadly it seems the only way clinicians, hospitals and emergency rooms will change their dangerous care is by paying the consequences for their poor care.

A final note.  Mr. Simpson rejects many more cases than he accepts. Not all attempted suicides are the result of incompetent care.  Mr. Simpson and the experts he retains distinguishes the cases where law suits are needed from those where no law suit should be filed.

The Law Offices of Skip Simpson

2591 Dallas Parkway, Suite 300

Frisco, Texas 75034