The Tarasoff court held that the psychiatrist-patient relationship was sufficient under § 315 to support the imposition of an affirmative duty on the defendant for the benefit of third persons. In ruling on the case of Tarasoff v. ... Moore and Powelson defended their actions on the grounds of their duty to their patient over a private third party and the trial court agreed with them. J Am Acad Psychiatry Law 2006; 34(4):523–528 Google Scholar, 8. Clinical judgment remains an invaluable addition to instruments for determining whether the duty to protect is warranted. Development of more validated risk-assessment tools would assist mental health professions in their decision making, enabling preservation of the integrity of the provider-patient relationship and minimizing the risk of legal liability. Kröner C, Stadtland C, Eidt M, et al. Ewing v. Goldstein is a recent California appeals court decision that extended the interpretation of the Tarasoff warning law. Rptr. The principle of warning a third party and/or the police was first established in California in 1976 in the case of Tarasoff v. Regents of the University of California. … 1976)) was groundbreaking in establishing a duty for psychotherapists to warn third parties of threats made against them by a patient in a therapeutic session. Enter your email address below and we will send you the reset instructions, If the address matches an existing account you will receive an email with instructions to reset your password, Enter your email address below and we will send you your username, If the address matches an existing account you will receive an email with instructions to retrieve your username. Leong GB, Eth S, Silva JA: The psychotherapist as witness for the prosecution: the criminalization of Tarasoff. The Tarasoff decision declared that the physician has a duty not only to the patient, but also to other third parties. Mills MJ, Sullivan G, Eth S: Protecting third parties: a decade after Tarasoff. How does one practice good clinical judgment? 14 (Cal. Tarasoff v. Regents of the University of California, 17 Cal. How would one attempt to argue when faced with the position that confidentiality or protection were absolute values. Tarasoff is an important decision with legal implications, and only 13 states in the U.S. lacked Tarasoff-like provisions at the time of Herbert’s report in 2002. Yet some states have not established a clear position on the implementation of Tarasoff-like decisions (either they do not have laws or have different laws for different types of mental health providers) (see box) (8). Formulate an argument from a utilitarian (consequentialist) perspective, i.e., emphasize risk over benefit in arguing for safety and again, in arguing for confidentiality. Confidentiality facilitates open communication by reassuring patients that the intimate details of their lives that they disclose to their health care providers will remain private. Regents of University of California, 17 Cal.3d 425, 131 Cal.Rptr. Foster TJ: Suicide prevention as a prerequisite for recovery from severe mental illness. Duty to warn is embedded in the historical context of two rulings (1974 and 1976) of the California Supreme Court in the case of Tarasoff v. Regents of the University of California . Some have suggested that once a threat has been made, "there is generally little a victim can do unless the threat is imminent" and that "warning sometimes can inflame the situation and increase the danger" (7). : Risk factors for fatal and nonfatal repetition of suicide attempts: a literature review. 14, was a case in which the Supreme Court of California held that mental health professionals have a duty to protect individuals who are being threatened with bodily harm by a patient. Br J Psychiatry J Ment Sci 2013; 203(5):387–388 Crossref, Google Scholar, 15. The Tarasoff decision ultimately paved the way for the codification of the principle that confidentiality and, in turn, privilege are not absolute, especially when a patient communicates a seemingly legitimate threat that jeopardizes the safety of a third party (4). Notice how the arguments being proposed by the committee deny the absolute nature of either value. For example, in California "psychotherapists must warn both the foreseeable victim and the police in order to enjoy protection from subsequent lawsuits" (11). threatened third party (5). 14 (Cal. In many jurisdictions, however, case law has carved out exceptions to that rule, where a “special relationship” is involved. Herbert PB: Psychotherapy as law enforcement. JAMA 1982; 248(4):431–432 Crossref, Google Scholar, 3. Please read the entire Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. J Am Acad Psychiatry Law 2010; 38(4):474–478 Google Scholar, 11. Traditionally, the Tarasoff case pits two goods or values against each other: confidentiality between therapist and patient vs. protection of an intended victim. Implementations of Tarasoff in the United States. The US case of Tarasoff v. Regents of the University of California, although not binding in Australia, is frequently cited as a reference for Australian consideration. Granted, the exact scope of the patient protection (through HIPAA) varies, depending on the state and on the specific context. The Tarasoff decision, as it is presently interpreted, raises a set of questions that may be problematic from both medical and legal standpoints. This misconception has developed as a result of the landmark decision in Tarasoff v. Regents of University of California, 551 P.2d 334 (Cal. Although mental health providers have some tools for violence risk assessment, such tools are not foolproof, and thus mental health providers are vulnerable to malpractice lawsuits (10). Jama 1982 ; 248 ( 4 ):474–478 Google Scholar, 9 52 ( 2 ):89–100 Crossref Google. Attempt to argue when faced with the position that confidentiality or protection were absolute values Eidt,... Other men, Poddar became extremely depressed and began stalking Tarasoff Tarasoff duty to third! Health field have been substantial because, in many instances, people do not intend... 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