NASHVILLE, TN (NASHVILLE POST) BY STEVE CAVENDISH – Dr. Michael Murphy, the national medical director for HCA’s Behavioral Health Services division, has been named as a defendant in a multi-million dollar medical malpractice suit along with two members of his former practice.
Murphy’s former patient, Daniel Cantrell, killed his father Oliver in April 2014 while in the middle of a nervous breakdown. Murphy exited Centennial Psychiatric Associates at the end of March 2014, when he was promoted by HCA to his current position, leaving his former nurse practitioner, Michelle Dahl, and former partner, Dr. Robert Jack, to care for Cantrell. The suit alleges that Murphy not only failed to adequately transition Cantrell to Dahl and Jack, but that he also inappropriately accessed Cantrell’s medical records after Cantrell was no longer his patient.
At issue is Cantrell’s transition between anti-psychotic drugs while he was in the middle of a nervous breakdown in March of last year. Dahl allegedly switched Cantrell from Geodon to Seroquel without tapering, leaving little or no effective dose of medication in Cantrell’s system. In the middle of this change, Cantrell became increasingly paranoid and eventually came to believe his father was a robot trying to kill him. Daniel Cantrell killed Oliver with a kitchen knife, stabbing him in the chest three times.
A Williamson County court found Cantrell not guilty of second-degree murdery by reason of insanity in August. He was remanded to Middle Tennessee Mental Health Institute indefinitely. Tennessee’s cap on punitive damages in malpractice suits is $750,000, but Cantrell’s lawyer anticipates economic damanges in the millions.
In a statement about the case, Jennifer Shain, HCA’s vice president for marketing and public relations, told the Post, “We work in healthcare because of a common desire to help people, so when things do not happen the way we all wish they would, we feel terrible, but we disagree with the contentions and we are firm in that belief. This is absolutely heartbreaking, but you cannot summarize Daniel’s case, his course of treatment, the clinicians who cared for him and the complexities of his situation by focusing only on the tragic circumstances of his father’s death. Our thoughts and prayers are with Daniel and his family.”
The case is Daniel Cantrell v. Centennial Psychiatric Associates, LLC, Michelle Dahl, N.P., Robert Jack, M.D., and Michael Murphy M.D. Cantrell is represented by Brian Cummings and Brian Manookian of Cummings Manookian PLC.