What canI do if my psychiatrist breached doctor-patient confidentiality?

Get Legal Help Today

 Secured with SHA-256 Encryption

What canI do if my psychiatrist breached doctor-patient confidentiality?

I spoke with the psychiatrist that I work for.  He stated that our conversation was confidential. During our discussion, I revealed illegal business practices and personal observations re: the partners behaviors (revealing one of them was having an affair and the other had an alcohol problem and was arrested for a DUI). All of the concerns were true and were distressing to me. The doctor once again assured me of confidentiality and he wrote a prescription for me. The doctor approached me several times following our confidential meeting asking for more details. I did that and then the MD relayed all of the information to the partners and I was confronted claiming I sabotaged their business by speaking with the doctor. Should I speak with a personal injury attorney? I’m in Richmond, VA. 

Asked on August 29, 2010 under Malpractice Law, Virginia

Answers:

MD, Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

Doctor patient confidentiality is not as hardlined as attorney client privilege or work product privilege.  That being said, there are some considerations you need to be aware of and you should probably discuss this potential breach with an attorney who is well versed in doctor patient confidentiality and what constitutes a breach.  I say potential and not absolute because every state's law is different and case law may reveal that in actuality what this person did is not a breach.  The problem here is if any item is untrue, you could be potentially liable for defamation, as well as the psychiatrist, for spreading the information.  If it is the absolute truth, you don't need to justify why you told him if it was part of your therapy.  There may be laws in place regarding your psychiatrist's responsibility to reveal or report any criminal activities that are ongoing but again a consultation with an attorney will help answer that question.

M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

Yes, you need to speak with an attorney if the breach resulted in damages to you in some way. Did you lose your job as a result of the disclosure? At the very least you need to report him to the American Medical Association (AMA) for a violation of professional ethics.  There are fine lines which have me concerned but it is hard to really understand the dynamics of what is going on here.  Were the business partners HIS business partners?  The particulars may or may not matter when the whole mess comes to a head.  The foundation here, though, is that you discussed and he blabbed.  That is a no no.  Good luck.


IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although AttorneyPages.com has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

Get Legal Help Today

Find the right lawyer for your legal issue.

 Secured with SHA-256 Encryption