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Book Review   |    
Malpractice Risk Management in Psychiatry: A Comprehensive Guide
Jeffrey S. Janofsky, M.D.
Psychiatric Services 1998; doi:
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edited by Frederic Flach, M.D.; New York City, Hatherleigh Press, 1998, 304 pages, $39.95 softcover

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This multiauthored book attempts to explain both the legal and the clinical aspects of psychiatric malpractice. Physicians who call an 800 number can also obtain continuing medical education credits by correctly answering 74 questions at the back of the book. Although this information is not disclosed in the text, on calling the 800 number I was informed that the credits cost an additional $110.

As with most multiauthored texts, the writing and editing are uneven. The basic chapters on malpractice by Michael Perlin are well written but essentially a summary of one of his prior publications. The Tarasoff decision on mental health professionals' duty to protect third parties from their patients' dangerous behavior is discussed in seven different chapters in an extremely repetitive and annoying fashion. Other introductory chapters concentrating on clinical issues summarize and repeat information better covered in subsequent chapters.

I found most interesting the chapters called "Are You Liable for Your Patients' Sexual Behavior?" by Douglas Mossman and "Guidelines to Avoid Liability in Managed Care" by Lawrence Kerns and Carol Gerner. These two chapters give fresh insight into areas that are not often covered by similar texts. The chapter by Otto Kausch and Philip Resnick entitled "The Assessment of Violence in the Workplace and Its Legal Ramifications" is also a good read. However, I am not sure what it is doing in a text on psychiatric malpractice.

Overall, I would not recommend this book.

Dr. Janofsky is associate professor and director of the law and psychiatry program in the department of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore.




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