What rights do I have as a husband for full access to information regarding my wife’s psychiatric condition?

UPDATED: Aug 1, 2011

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What rights do I have as a husband for full access to information regarding my wife’s psychiatric condition?

My wife was placed on a 72-hour hold in a psychiatric hospital for the third time in her life. I do not know all the details of why it happened and what her condition is, despite asking repeatedly for that information from professional personnel acquainted with this case. For the most part I have been ignored or patronized. What are my rights as a spouse to have full access to this information and complete cooperation from all those involved: doctors, case managers, and law enforcement personnel? We have a very stable home with 2 small children.

Asked on August 1, 2011 California


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

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

I am so sorry for your situation.  Unless you are the legal guardian or conservator of your wife, you may not be able to obtain the information that would be considered a violation of her right to privacy.  A health care proxy can help but if she is lucid and competant - and they will evaluate her for her ability to make a decision or decisions - then they may not honor the proxy.  You need to seek legal help in your area on this matter.  You need to decide how you want to proceed about the children, etc., as well as your wife.  Becoming her conservator will give you the ability to know more.  Good luck to you all.  

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