Friday, May 1, 2009

The Suicide of Appellate Lawyer Mark Levy

There are very few things in medicine that come with a 100% written guarantee. This is one.

Once one's mood is less depressed, the person will be glad they did not hurt themselves.

The most successful suicide reduction program in history is that of the US Air Force. It was at no additional cost to government and consisted of training for one hour a year for all supervisors. Someone made a statement about suicide or depression. The trained supervisor made the person get ordinary treatment for the condition. Depression. Substance abuse. Rough stress. The difference in this program was the ability to coerce the person into ordinary treatment.

As a side benefit, the rate of murder in the Air Force also dropped a lot.

Corporations and large firms can easily read the manual and institute a similar program. Prevent a suicide of a mechanic, the Air Force saves a $million replacement cost. Save the life of a general, how much does that replacement cost save the Air Force.

Although I speak of arrests, executions, those are restricted to the hierarchy. The loss of such a skilled practitioner is a tragedy to his family, to his firm, and to the nation.

This is perhaps unseemly. However, I recommend that all lawyers attend a survivor meeting of the Suicide Prevention Foundation local chapter. You do not have to say anything, just listen. You will hear tales of desperate attempts to get a loved one into treatment, and the insurmountable roadblocks by the 1976 decision of the Supreme Court. People cannot be committed for necessity, but only for physical dangerousness, as if treatment were an abrogation of rights rather than the saving of a life. Thank the Supreme Court. Now, Mr. Levy qualifies for treatment.

Why did the Supreme Court take over psychiatric clinical care? Was there massive abuse of commitment? Were remedies in medical malpractice lawsuits and criminal prosecutions of any abusive psychiatrist not deterrent enough?


They wanted to generate three jobs for lawyers before getting needed care to save a life. Now, we have a prosecutor who has to prove a mental illness and physical dangerousness, with a standard of proof of clear and convincing. A defense attorney will fight to prevent the care of the mental patient as if the Constitution were under attack. Then, a nutbag in the middle makes idiotic decisions that result in the murder of 2000 people by paranoid schizophrenics, and in 30,000 needless suicides a year.

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