Doctor Found Liable For Failing To Help Suicidal Patient
"Dr. Koplin saw him for three visits in this critical time period and did no psych evaluation," said Koskoff, noting that such an evaluation is required of a family practice doctor when a patient complains of mental illness-type symptoms. Koskoff said that on Morrin's fourth visit the man saw a nurse practitioner who looked at all the sleeping medications that had been prescribed and advised Morrin also to try melatonin, an over-the-counter sleep aid.
Throughout this period, Morrin wrote a series of letters that illustrated his severe depression and his suicidal potential. These writings were submitted into evidence in the lawsuit to show Morrin's condition at the time and what his doctor was failing to see.
"It's really the letters that allowed us to tell this story because they filled in all the blanks that were left in the medical records," said Koskoff. "It was all the information they could have elicited. He was heartbreakingly articulate about his problems if only someone was listening and stepped in there would've been no murder-suicide."
Koskoff described Koplin's practice as "point-and-click medicine." He said the doctor took notes on a laptop and patients got very little time with him. Pills were prescribed and patients were sent on their way. Nevertheless, Koskoff said Morrin remained loyal to Koplin's practice and was a longtime patient.
"What's keeping him going is this incredible dedication to his two daughters who he loves clearly, [according to] his letters," said Koskoff. "He has this tunnel vision on the marriage. He talks about himself hanging by a thread. He also talks in his letters about having nobody to talk to. When he reaches out to the one person he thinks he can, his doctor, he doesn't seem to be listening at all."
Koplin and his medical practice were represented by James Rosenblum of Rosenblum Newfield in Stamford. Rosenblum argued that neither Koplin nor his nurse practitioner knew Morrin was suicidal.
The case went to trial before Waterbury Superior Court Judge Kari Dooley and was bifurcated. A liability verdict came on Dec. 19 favoring the plaintiffs. A hearing in damages took place Jan. 6. The jury then deliberated two days before awarding Morrin's estate $8,008,500.
Rosenblum declined comment for this report due to pending post-trial motions.
Koplin is serving an unrelated four-year federal prison sentence for child pornography. Federal prosecutors said the doctor was a Boy Scout leader who amassed one of the largest child pornography collections ever found in Connecticut—an 800-gigabyte collection of sexually explicit images and videos of boys.
After pleading guilty in the child pornography case, Koplin surrendered his state medical license in November 2012.