NASHVILLE, TN (THE TENNESSEAN) BY STACEY BARCHENGER – A man who fatally stabbed his father during a psychotic episode last year is suing his doctors at a TriStar Health clinic, claiming their recklessness and negligence led to the father’s death. Court papers say Daniel Cantrell was “suffering from the cascading effects of the complete withdrawal of effective medication” when he suffered delusions and became paranoid and agitated at his parents’ house in Brentwood in April 2014. The home was under construction.
Cantrell saw circular saws as torture devices, the lawsuit says. He thought his father, Oliver Cantrell, hired workers to kill him. Cantrell stabbed his father twice in the heart, killing 65-year-old Oliver. According to the lawsuit, the killing came after a month of switches in Cantrell’s medication regimen, the departure of his regular doctor and substitution of a nurse practitioner and staffers ignoring his pleas for help.
The malpractice lawsuit was filed this week in Davidson County and seeks an unidentified amount of damages from Centennial Psychiatric Associates, a TriStar Health clinic owned by the Nashville-based hospital chain HCA. It names nurse practitioner Michelle Dahl, Dr. Robert Jack and Dr. Michael Murphy, all of whom were involved in Cantrell’s care. Murphy was promoted a month before the killing and is now national medical director for HCA Behavioral Health Services.
Jennifer Shain, a spokeswoman for TriStar Health, said in an email the company’s thoughts and prayers were with the Cantrell family.
“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,” her statement says. “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.”
Cantrell claims in the court filing that the doctors did not follow state rules regarding who can provide medical care and tampered with his medication regimen, telling him to stop his routine and take a lower amount of a new drug, leading to his breakdown. He also alleges Murphy altered medical records after Murphy learned of Cantrell’s father’s death.
“They weren’t legally allowed to be using a nurse practitioner at the time, because they hadn’t done the prerequisite steps” regarding supervision required by Tennessee law, said Brian Manookian, Cantrell’s attorney.
Cantrell was charged with murder in his father’s death, and a Williamson County judge found him not guilty of murder by reason of insanity in August 2014. Cantrell was 31 at the time. He is in treatment at Middle Tennessee Mental Health Institute in Nashville.
“Daniel is the least violent person in the whole wide world,” said Cantrell’s wife of five years, Kristin. “He would never hurt a fly. He absolutely believes if not for this sudden change in his medicine, this would not have happened.”