A common feature is a lack of empathy with victims. Most serial killers ​(with few exceptions) understand they are committing a crime because they take care not to be caught. Antisocial Personality Disorder and Borderline Personality Disorder commonly are present. Sadomasochism is also a common feature. Depending on the shared characteristics of the victims, the serial…

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Psychiatrist vs. Psychologist: How to Decide the Best Choice As An Expert Witness When a medical-legal question has medical aspects to emotional states or behavior, such as chronic pain, traumatic brain injury, permanent physical disability (partial disability or total disability), a psychiatrist by virtue of his or her training[1], will have expertise to understand the…

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A psychiatric disability exists when a person is mentally impaired by a psychiatric disorder.  Impairment can be partial or total, temporary or permanent, and must be taken in the context of performance of varying types of tasks.  For example, can a job be performed (or performance in a particular occupation)? Carrying out tasks of daily living?…

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A “psychiatric evaluation,” “psychiatric assessment,” “IME” (Independent Medical Evaluation) or “mental evaluation” mean the same thing: a psychiatrist evaluates the psychiatric condition of an individual in the past and/or present, in order to answer specific questions (such as those with legal implications for the person being examined).  Elements of the evaluation vary from case to case depending…

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A Will is not a contract because it does not represent a promise to perform a service or execute an action for another person (including corporations).  It is solely an allocation of a person’s wealth on death.  A contract, such as a Trust, implies the potential for an adversarial relationship if one of the parties…

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Suicidal patients exist both as in-patients and out-patients. The treater has a duty to exercise adequate skill in the diagnosis and care of such patients and an additional duty to take adequate precautions when suicidal (or other self-injurious) risk is identified. A medical malpractice may occur when there is either a failure to diagnose the…

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The terms depression and sadness are often used interchangeably, which I believe is an error. Sadness is generally experienced when there is a loss of something or someone who is held dear, but is not accompanied by feelings or hopelessness, helplessness, despair, guilt, or loss of self-esteem or self respect. Depression on the other hand…

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Many companies have employees in remote locations, domestic and foreign. When an employee becomes acutely ill from a serious psychiatric disorder and cannot travel, the problem arises to find acute care. Several options are available: Local treatment recommended by the company’s psychiatric consultant. Safe evacuation with trained medical non-psychiatric personnel (nurse or EMT). Safe evacuation…

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In order for a medical opinion to be admissible as evidence in civil, criminal and administrative cases, the basis of the opinion must fulfill either the Daubert[1] Criteria or the Frye[2] test, depending on the jurisdiction. The judge of the court rules on the admissibility of the expert opinion.  The effect of Daubert has been…

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Undue influence when creating a will, codicil to amend a will, trust or other legal instrument, occurs when the conduct of another prevents a testator (or anyone for that matter) from exercising his or her free will.  The occurrence of undue influence is established by demonstrating  that the testator’s testamentary disposition was caused by undue pressure,…

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