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Could this psychologist have done something illegal?

San Jose, CA |

A close friend is under court appointed conservatorship due to dementia. His former trustee tried to get me out of the picture and I suspect he tried to do it through the neuropsychologist my friend had at that time.

This neuropsychologist declared me to be a "detriment" to my friend's recovery and forbade me from having any contact with him. My concern became for his psychological well being since he and I have a close friendship.

I filed a complaint with the state board of psychology but was informed they could do nothing without the signed consent of the patient. In the meanwhile his trustee and neuropsychologist were removed after my friend complained about possible abuse.

Question: Who else could I file a complaint against this neuropsychologist and also his former trustee?

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Attorney answers 3

Best Answer

If you believe there was abuse, then you can report it anonymously to the County Adult Protective Services Agency in the county where your friend lives. It sounds, though, as if that might already have happened if the trustee and the neuropsychologist were "removed".

Here's a link for the Santa Clara County APS:

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As I see it, you lack standing here to make complaints about anyone involved on any basis. Exactly what the State licensing agency already told you. Unless you have been appointed conservator for your friend, under the law you are entitled to no confidential or personal information about your friend or your friend's cases or legal matters, and you have no legal standing to interject yourself into any of your friend's legal or medical (psychiatric or psychological) disputes or issues.

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It sounds like that when a person with no legal standing observes that a provider is doing something inappropriately, the law as is structured provides no protection for the patient at the hands of the provider? Inappropriate in this case is that a psychologist does not have the right to forbid anyone from seeing a patient that they are treating. The understanding is that such an act is considered isolation of the patient especially when the patient is elderly.

Christine C McCall

Christine C McCall


If your friends agrees with your assessment of the situation, your friend can move to change it, including make complaints to oversight authorities. But, except for obvious criminal acts such as assault or false imprisonment, most state licensing agencies will not entertain complaints from 3rd parties. There is no way for the licensing agency to investigate your complaint without prying into your friends personal and confidential circumstances. That is not a boundary any friend -- no matter how well-meanng -- can traverse. You may want to talk with an attorney about whether you have the facts to make a complaint t law enforcement (i.e., facts to support a criminal investigation) or an effort at conservatorship.


My colleagues are correct. Unless you have a legal tie to your close friend, you lack standing to make complaints on his behalf. As for filing another complaint about the former trustee and or the neuropsychologist, you could make an anonymous complaint. Good luck.

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