Another chapter in the tragic death of 4-year-old Rebecca Riley has reached an end. Last night, the Massachusetts wrongful death lawyers for her estate announced that a $2.5 million Boston medical malpractice settlement was reached with her psychiatrist, Dr. Kayoko Kifuji of Tufts Medical Center.
If you’ll recall, Kifuji was the one who prescribed the psychiatric drugs that Rebecca overdosed on after her parents gave her too much of the medications. Michael and Carolyn Riley were convicted of Rebecca’s murder in separate criminal trials last year.
The $2.5 million Boston psychiatric malpractice settlement is the maximum allowed under Kifuji’s insurance policy. The child psychiatrist, who continues to work at Tufts Medical Center, has not admitted any wrongdoing.
Kifuji was the psychiatrist for all three Riley kids. She diagnosed all of them with bipolar illness and ADHD.
During the criminal trials, testimony was provided claiming that Michael and Carolyn deceived Kifuji into thinking that their kids were suffering from serious psychiatric illnesses so that they could receive federal disability checks for the mental disorders. Kifuji, who consented to testify in return for immunity from prosecution, claimed she was not aware that that the couple was overdosing the kids. She said that she followed treatment protocols and diagnostic criteria when providing the children with psychiatric care. Although many legal and medical professionals believe she should be held criminally accountable for Rebecca’s death, a grand jury refused to indict her and the Board of Registration let her resume her medical malpractice following an investigation.
Medical Duty of Care
Psychiatrists, like other physicians, owe their patients a duty to provide them with a certain level of care. When the psychiatric care provided drops below that standard and injury, illness, or death results, the victim and his/her family can sue for Boston psychiatric malpractice. Proving mental harm can be tough without the help of an experienced Boston injury law firm. Medical professionals may have to be brought in by your attorney as witnesses that can help prove your case.
Tufts settles suit against doctor in girl’s death for $2.5m, Boston.com, January 25, 2011
Rebecca Riley’s estate gets $2.5 million in lawsuit settlement with psychiatrist, Patriot Ledger, January 25, 2011
Boston Medical Malpractice Lawsuit Against Rebecca Riley’s Psychiatrist to Move Forward, Boston Injury Lawyer
Related Web Resources:
What is psychiatric malpractice?, Power2u.org
Michael Riley sentenced to life in prison without parole, CNN, September 24, 2010
Carolyn Riley gets life sentence for daughter’s death, Wicked Local, February 10, 2010