Hal S. Wortzel, MD

Forensic Neuropsychiatry & Behavioral Neurology

The rapid rate of development in the neurosciences has broad implications, not only for medicine and patients, but for courts of law and the litigants therein. Many believe that as the secrets underlying brain function are gradually unraveled, the ability to comprehend, anticipate, and ultimately alter human behaviors will be realized. Such notions have profound implications, particularly when basic assumptions about human thought and behavior, like free will and responsibility, are challenged. Unfortunately, the excitement surrounding these scientific developments, and their potential seductive power, has resulted in many instances of premature and questionable applications of neuroscience to the law. The courthouse doors are open, and neuroscientific evidence will continue to make appearances.

Both the fields of neuropsychiatry & behavioral neurology and forensic psychiatry are extraordinarily broad in scope, potentially converging anywhere that human behavior, cognition, or emotion might become legally relevant. The neuropsychiatrist who accepts a forensic role also assumes tremendous responsibilities involving: up-to-date medical knowledge, familiarity with pertinent law, and ethical duties particular to the medical expert role. Qualified and well-trained medical experts in behavior, cognition, and emotion are clearly needed to evaluate an individual’s neuropsychiatric condition and any potential relationships to events that may have generated pathological conditions, or to choices that may be related to such illnesses.

Dr. Wortzel is Board Certified in Psychiatry, Forensic Psychiatry and Behavioral Neurology & Neuropsychiatry.

Please contact Dr. Wortzel for information regarding evaluations and case consultations.