Psychiatrists and their patients have a special relationship. It is a relationship based on trust. Psychiatrists are required to keep all information relating to medical records confidential and away from public hands. Any breach of this promise is considered medical malpractice. Newly licensed psychiatrists are required to recite the Hippocratic oath. The oath does not carry legal weight.
However, all patient-psychiatrist privilege laws stem from the line in the Oath, "Whatever, in connection with my professional service, or not in connection with it, I see or hear, in the life of men, which ought not to be spoken of abroad, I will not divulge, as reckoning all such should be kept secret."
The psychiatrist-patient confidentiality is legally rooted in the Hippocratic Oath. Patient-psychiatrist confidentiality stems from the fact that when a prospective patient seeks the advice or care from a psychiatric physician, the patient might not speak freely if such information were to be public. The solemnity of the confidentiality between psychiatrists and patients is a matter of ensuring the best possible care for patients. Patients must communicate truthfully and openly what is wrong for a doctor to be able to administer optimal care.
It is for this reason that when tacit agreements of confidentiality between psychiatrists and patients are breached, the patient can sue for medical malpractice. The publicity of medical records, and the confidentiality of psychiatric problems becoming jeopardized, is not up to the physician, but the patient. Such a breach of trust would prevent patients from freely speaking with their psychiatrist or other doctor, leaving a potentially serious condition untreated. Breaching the psychiatrist-patient confidentiality agreement is in neither the professional's, nor the patient's interest. Breaches pose a threat to the overall quality of care that patients receive. By virtue of this fact, malpractice suits apply to this breach. Contact a malpractice lawyer to consult your case.
Doctors do not only treat patients by administering medicine or performing surgery. In fact, the way a psychiatrist treats his or her patient is as crucial as the types of psychoactive drugs they can administer. Divulging sensitive medical information to humiliate the patient, and will prevent that patient and future patients from freely expressing what ails him or her. Trust is part of the medical practice, in fact, it is the way in which all medical care is administered.
Divulging medical secrets is an egregious form of malpractice, which raises questions of the trustworthiness of a doctor's treatment. It shows a lack of respect for the profession and the humanity of the patient. Therefore, such malpractice is worthy of reputation damaging lawsuits and monetary compensation for the offended patient.