Now that Rebecca Riley’s parents have been convicted of her murder, the Boston wrongful death lawsuit accusing Dr. Kayoko Kifuji of Massachusetts psychiatric malpractice will move forward. Rebecca, 4, died after her parents overmedicated her with psychotropic drugs.
The drugs were prescribed by Kifuji who, in exchange for immunity, testified at the criminal trials of Carolyn and Michael Riley. During Michael’s trial, Kifuji said that she does not question the diagnosis she made that Rebecca, then 2, was suffering from attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and bipolar disorder.
Kifuji said her diagnosis was based primarily on Carolyn’s accounts of her daughter’s conduct. The psychiatrist prescribed Depakote and clonidine for Rebecca. She had prescribed the same drugs to Rebecca’s two older siblings, who were diagnosed with the same conditions.
Carolyn and Riley were accused of sedating their children to keep them quiet and using their kids’ illnesses to get money from the government. Upon Rebecca’s death, the little girl had three times as much clonidine in her system as she would have had if she’d taken her daily dose at one time.
Kifuji gave up her license in February 2007 after Rebecca’s parents were charged with her murder. After a grand jury and the state medical board cleared her, she began practicing psychiatry again at Tufts Medical Center in Boston.
In 2008, Rebecca Riley’s estate filed its Boston medical malpractice complaint against Kifuji. Per the estate’s Massachusetts wrongful death lawyer, Kifuji did not decrease Rebecca’s prescription even after a preschool nurse cautioned that the girl was overmedicated. The Boston, Massachusetts wrongful death lawsuit is seeking unspecified damages for the pain suffered by Rebecca and the loss her siblings have been forced to endure with her passing.
Examples of Psychiatric Malpractice
• Wrong diagnosis • Failure to provide proper treatment • Mental abuse • Emotional abuse • Sexual abuse • Sexual assault • Engaging in a sexual relationship with a patient • Privacy violations • False imprisonment • Medication overdose • Prescribing the wrong drug
With Riley murder trials done, spotlight turns to civil suit against psychiatrist, The Patriot Ledger, March 30, 2010
Doctor is sued in death of girl, 4, Boston.com, April 4, 2008
Related Web Resources:
Jury finds Riley guilty of first-degree murder, Wicked Local, March 29, 2010
Rebecca Riley Murder Case Timeline, My Fox Boston