Tarasoff Case Study: The Clinician-Patient Confidentiality

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The clinician-patient confidentiality relationship is an important bond for patients to feel secure. This relationship is almost unbreakable; however, it is not invincible. Confidentiality of the patient can be broken if the patient discloses information about harming themselves or someone else. In the Tarasoff case study, the ethical question posed is: is it ethical for a therapist to break patient confidentiality if imminent danger of the patient or another person is disclosed during a therapy session? Arguing that this is indeed unethical, counterarguments pose that breaking confidentiality is a risk to all patients. The Jewish and the American Indian (AI) religions have differing views on the principles of dealing with the people involved…show more content…
In Jewish law and the Torah, it is stated that one must not only refrain from evil, but do good. It is prohibited to kill, and one must also provide good by completing selfless acts. This principle addresses the ethical question by reiterating the idea of abstaining from doing bad deeds and promoting good deeds. Alternately, the AI religion is focused on the spiritual beings and the health of the community. Spirituality is only one of many factors of an effective doctor-patient relationship. The spirituality of the patient is necessary, but also the spirituality of the healer, the therapist in this scenario. Not only would the AI need to assess how Poddar’s wish to harm Tarasoff affects Poddar spiritually, they would need to assess the spirituality of the therapist. AI approaches this ethical question by assessing these two traits and promote individual healing and then have Poddar take the healing into his own hands and promote community healing. Differing from both the Jewish and AI religions, if I was posed this ethical question, I would say every time that patient confidentiality should be broken. If the patient or another person is in danger, that person has a right to know. Yes, the patient also has a right to confidentiality but when it comes to others being harmed, their rights are overshadowed by the common good. In summary, the clinician-patient confidentiality relationship is an important relationship in order for patient’s to receive the optimal care; however, there are circumstances that necessitate the need for that bond to be broken for the greater common good. Whether the patient redirects their bad behaviors into good or take the care into their own hands and increase the health of the community, it is necessary to break the confidentiality in order to save a person in

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