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Can I sue a psychiatrist for discussing issues about my mental health with my husband when I was not present?

Dayton, OH |
Filed under: Medical malpractice

I saw a psychiatrist for a year along with my two children, my husband also saw him. Along the way i wasnt happy with his advice for our child, so we left and went elsewhere. My husband said "Dr. E. says you will never leave me as you are afraid of abandonment.",
he then said he discussed "borderline traits" that i might have with him. My husband concluded I did have it and is now divorcing me and using the same attorney as his psychiatrist. this has been so hurtful and now its destroying our family.

Attorney Answers 2

  1. Hmmm, there is arguably damage here; so it is possible the psychiatrist might have committed malpractice if it can be established that the standard of care in these cases is to keep this type of information confidential. Of course, this would quickly devolve to the physician's word against your husband.

    There is another problem though in that from your description the psychiatrist was conducting family therapy, which means that the the psychiatrist can argue that his disclosures to your husband were meant to be therapeutic.

    I suggest taking these facts to an attorney familiar with medical malpractice and get an opinion.

    I am licensed in New Mexico and Pennsylvania, and therefore any discussion of issues related to other states must considered within that context. In addition, my comments are not intended to create a legal representation but merely to respond to the limited facts presented by the question. Any opinion herein is not meant as a precise statement of legal rights or as a recommendation of any particular course of action. A more complete legal review can be obtained through local counsel.

  2. According to our firm's Legal Nurse Consultant, your post is not inconsistent with borderline personality disorder. If the session was family therapy, I have some difficulty in seeing how your husband was silenced when you left. You do not know if your husband made up the statement you attribute to the doctor. With enough money, you could pursue both the divorce action and some form of malpractice. I suggest you get advice from a family law attorney first, who may suggest not muddying the situation during the divorce.

    We do not have a client/attorney relationship until you make an appointment, we discuss your case face to face, I accept a retainer, and we explictly agree to enter into representation.

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