Sunday, November 10, 2013


My grandfather was a psychiatrist and, in addition to having a private practice, he worked as a forensic psychiatrist for the court system. That’s a job I wouldn’t want, deciding who is nuts enough to go to the state hospital and who is sane enough to go to the state pen.

Anyway, the therapeutic sessions are confidential and if the psychiatrics slips up and divulges what is in the case, he can be investigated for malpractice.

However, there is a duty to report law that makes it required of mental health professionals to warn of potentially violent conduct by patients. In his private practice, he was seeing a deranged patient who was getting married.  Out of concern for the woman, he wrote a letter to her and to her parents.

“My suggestion to the infatuated girl would be to run as fast and as far as she possibly could in any direction away from him.  Of course if he doesn't marry her, he will marry someone else and make life hell for that person.” Against his advice, the girl went ahead and married the guy.  Then the guy sued for disclosing confidential information and he won.

So lesson to mental health professionals, you have to warn people if they are in physical danger, but the potential to have a life ruined? That’s all on them.

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