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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

Posted

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.

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Posted

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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4 comments

Norman Antonio Stiteler

Norman Antonio Stiteler

Posted

Good thoughts

Asker

Posted

This was NEVER family therapy. He is a med management psychiatrist only. my husband, nor my daughters never went together. he did recommend a marital therapist but he did none of this work. the way I heard it was he was "chatting" with my husband one day and exploted me by declaring "i would never leave him:, as I am borderline, in his opening. My husband then went on to review this in detail but refused to go to anycounseling evaluations or what not withj me. he is now pursueing a divorce based on his own made up belief, inspired by the psychiatrist. no family therapy. I confronted the pscyhiatrist and he said "I do not have that diagnosis down for you, see, as he threw my papers to me." he said "we talked about ":traits": which everyone has. but i beleive he used my confidential information against me when i wasnt in the room.

Barry Franklin Poulson

Barry Franklin Poulson

Posted

Something to discuss with your family law attorney. It may be that your attorney will want to delay any potential action on this until the divorce is final.

Asker

Posted

I know for sure he said "she will never leave you." this gave my husband persmission to treat me cruely, and eventually divorce me. The psychiatrist was correct, i would not have left him and I do not like living alone, however this was not something he ever discussed with me, and I feel it led to the marriage breakdown. i dont know if it matters but this doctor was on probation for two years for refusing to take lithium for his bi polar, and smoking marijuanau instead. he also has numerous complaints on the internet review boards for doctors. I just feel that he had so much information on all family members (my kids,me, my husband) that he really did breech confidentiality. he is no way a counselor and it was no way family. it was after i left his practice with myself and kids by about a year. my husband stayed with him.

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