A psychiatrist has been sentenced to 18 months in prison on probation for manslaughter following the murder of one of his schizophrenic patients.
This is a first, and not without asking questions. A hospital practitioner has just been sentenced in second instance by the Grenoble Court of Appeal to 18 months in prison suspended for manslaughter following the murder perpetrated by one of his schizophrenic patients.
Chronic delusional psychosis
Nearly ten years ago, Jean-Pierre Guillaud, patient of the psychiatrist Lekhraj Gujadhu, escaped from the Hospital Center of Saint-Egrève (Isère). Reaching chronic delusional psychosis, he got on a bus, joined Grenoble, bought a knife and killed Luc Meunier, 26, a student in mechanical engineering.
"The court has recognized that this doctor did not care about the follow-up of this patient, and that his dangerousness was missed.If there was this concern, there might not have been the death of Luc Meunier, "said Me Hervé Gerbi, the lawyer of the family of the victim. For him, this judgment is "a warning against psychiatrists who believe that the assessment of the most dangerous schizophrenic patients would be a subordinate issue: it must be at the center of their concerns."
Upset psychiatric practice
Very fragile, Dr. Lekhraj Gujadhur has today stopped practicing and is followed by one of his colleagues. For his lawyer, this sentence is a "big disappointment" and will upset the psychiatric practice. "We can think curious that it is the only responsible, while the hospital is responsible for the control of the outputs and that its head of service was not prosecuted, "he adds, the Saint-Egrève hospital having been acquitted at first instance.
Norbert Skurnik, vice-president of the Inter-Union for the Defense of Public Psychiatry (Idepp) sees in this court decision an "extremely negative message for the sick, the families and the population", because it could incite practitioners "not to get the patients out, to prolong their hospitalization". Remember that schizophrenics are not a criminogenic population. Of 600 000 patients in France, there is a passage to the act every three or four years.
Highly publicized, the murder of Luc Meunier had pushed President Nicolas Sarkozy to demand a reform of psychiatry including new provisions on dangerous patients, which had provoked the ire of professionals in the sector.