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Doctor linked to pro golfer's suicide in medical malpractice case

Jurors have been hearing testimony recently during a trial in which a doctor has been accused of committing medical malpractice, resulting in his patient's 2010 suicide.

The lawsuit was filed by the father of the deceased patient, who was a young professional golfer at the time of her death. The medical malpractice and wrongful death claims allege that the male physician was engaged in an inappropriate relationship with his female patient; that he failed to provide her with proper medical care; and that failure contributed to her eventual suicide.

The doctor has already pleaded guilty in an earlier misdemeanor case related to the allegations. In that case, he admitted that he obstructed a police investigation into the case. After he discovered the golfer's body, he concealed from police her suicide note and knowledge of medications that she was taking.

The outcome of the civil case remains to be seen. This is not the first time that a doctor has been accused of becoming too intimate with a patient who is in a vulnerable state, often resulting in clouded medical judgment and compromised care. Intimate relations between doctors and patients are usually seen as unethical and can even cross the boundaries into medical malpractice.

The victims of medical malpractice and their loved ones have the right to hold negligent doctors and hospitals accountable. It is important that negligent physicians and medical facilities answer for themselves and take action to institute changes when individuals and families in Connecticut are harmed by medical malpractice.

Source: Connecticut Post "Opening arguments begin in golfer-suicide trial," Ken Ritter, May 7, 2014

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