Author Archives : Brian A. Falls, M.D.


Could Texas Courts Consider Forensic Psychiatric Testimony to be Practicing Medicine?

Does an autopsy fall within the practice of medicine in Texas? This is an important legal question that could have implications for the practice of forensic psychiatry in Texas. The Texas Medical Liability Act defines “health care” as “any act or treatment performed or furnished, or that should have been performed or furnished, by any […]


Violent Online Writings: Criminal Threats or Free Speech?

How does our country balance First Amendment freedom of speech with violent, apparently threatening words? This question is becoming increasingly important in an online world. Some Internet users believe they should be able to freely express violent thoughts online. Because the Internet offers a feeling of anonymity, many people are less cautious about expressing violent […]


U.S. Supreme Court examines whether police interactions with people with mental illness violates the Americans With Disabilities Act

Teresa Sheehan was a woman with a history of schizophrenia who lived at a group home in San Francisco, California. In 2008, she threatened to kill her social worker, who in turn reported the threat to police so she could receive inpatient treatment at a psychiatric hospital. When local police officers arrived at Ms. Sheehan’s […]


Violence Risk Assessment: An Experiment in Improvement (VIDEO in link) 1

For many years, forensic psychiatrists and psychologists have been tasked with assessing individuals’ risk of violence. There are three fundamental approaches to violence risk assessment: using unaided clinical judgment, using statistical models, and using structured professional judgment. Unaided clinical judgment, the oldest approach, is basically when an evaluator forms an opinion on the individual’s risk of […]


Texas Supreme Court upholds ten year limit for medical malpractice lawsuits

The Texas Supreme Court recently held in an 8-1 decision (Tenet Hospitals Ltd. v. Rivera) that medical malpractice lawsuits cannot be filed more than ten years after an injury. This ruling upholds the Texas legislature’s 2003 tort-reform changes to the Medical Liability and Insurance Improvement Act (MLIAA), which were re-codified in the Civil Practice and […]