Court Rulings on Confidentiality in Healthcare Essay (Critical Writing)


Confidentiality is crucial in healthcare, and practitioners should make sure that affected person data is protected. This paper gives a comparability of two courtroom circumstances specifically the Tarasoff v. Regents of California (1976) and Estates of Morgan v. Fairfield Family Counseling Center (1997). The two courtroom eventualities in contrast and contrasted in quite a few ways in which have important affect on at this time’s rulings. It explains how the 2 eventualities have impacted confidentiality practices within the counseling occupation.

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A Comparison and Contrast of Two Court Decisions

The Tarasoff v. Regents of California (1976) and Estates of Morgan v. Fairfield Family Counseling Center (1997) courtroom selections enhanced the confidentiality phrases in psychological healthcare. Various judicial selections had been thought-about to information psychological well being professionals on points concerning affected person confidentiality. The two circumstances offered on this paper have important implications on authorized dimensions of breaching shopper’s privateness (Conrad, 2020). This paper compares and contrasts the circumstances towards one another establishing their numerous variations and similarities.

Tarasoff v. Regents of California (1976)

This situation presents the case of a male affected person, Prosenjit Poddar, who expressed curiosity to kill Ms. Tarasoff, a college scholar, who he had met in an leisure venue. Ms. Tarasoff was unaware of Poddar’s in poor health intentions that may result in her demise later. The affected person confided his intention to kill the feminine scholar to his psychologist, who reported the difficulty to the suitable authorities. Although Poddar was arrested, he was later launched and the sufferer and her household had been by no means knowledgeable of the approaching occasions that may consequence within the tragedy (Conrad, 2020). Failure and negligence to take an applicable plan of action to safeguard the lifetime of Ms. Tarasoff by the concerned events instantly led to her demise. It was later dominated out that public security was extra vital than safeguarding the confidentiality between the affected person and his counselor.

Estates of Morgan v. Fairfield Family Counseling Center (1997)

The Estates of Morgan v. Fairfield Family Counseling Center (1997) case concerned a male character, Matt Morgan, who in his deep ideas deliberate to hurt his dad and mom. Various sources indicated that Morgan had been taking medicines for his psychological situation. However, he had stopped taking them for some time when his violent conduct resurfaced. In the top, Morgan killed his dad and mom, triggering a sequence of occasions that led to his apprehension.

Similarities and Differences

The most notable similarity between the 2 circumstances is safeguarding the events at risk as soon as a affected person is perceived to pose important threats to different individuals. In each Tarasoff and Morgan, the therapists contacted the related authorities in favor of the sufferer’s security. Another similarity in each circumstances is that each Podder and Morgan had been denied correct psychological well being care practitioners, which affected the sufferers (Conrad, 2020). While the accountability to warn Podder’s girlfriend of hazard is prioritized in Tarasoff’s case, the obligation to manage therapy and assess propensity of risk dominates Morgan’s situation.

Influence on Confidentiality

In each circumstances, there was an expression of warning in several dimensions. The eventualities revealed the necessity to breach confidentiality to guard life. The circumstances confirmed that people have an ethical obligation to make selections that infringe personal data in favor of safety (Remley & Herlihy, 2016; Appel, 2019). The ensuing rulings from each courtroom conditions emphasised the significance of breaking confidentiality to safeguard individuals from hurt.

The rulings led to deviance from discretion, prompting professionals in psychological healthcare to breach the privateness of shoppers. Section B.2 of the ACA Code of Ethics helps breach of confidentiality in circumstances that contain hazard, contagious ailments, and court-ordered disclosures (Remley & Herlihy, 2016). However, it’s crucial to determine and keep clear boundaries to keep away from friction with sufferers. As a consequence, counselors should seek the advice of with different professionals when in denial to make sure validity of a breach (ACA Code of Ethics, 2014). Therefore, they need to decide the sensitivity of the difficulty at hand earlier than disclosure.

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Impact on Clinical Work

Protecting affected person data is a important ethical obligation amongst care givers, as outlined within the American Counselling Association (ACA) Code of Ethics. Healthcare practitioners should perceive that some life-threatening situations could necessitate the breach of confidentiality. In such circumstances, you will need to talk to the concerned events to replace them on the continuing developments. Expectations within the ACA Code of Ethics, present in Section B2, define situations the place confidentiality have to be infringed (ACA, 2014). As such, the officers in cost must make selections aimed toward defending the lifetime of the particular person at risk.

Following the courtroom selections, there was a major change in making certain privateness for affected person data. Although the rulings clarified the significance of confidentiality, the ensuing settlement on this problem have to be categorized into circumstances of significant and foreseeable harm. Consequently, psychological well being practitioners have a accountability to safeguard each events from hurt.


Both Tarasoff v. Regents of California (1976) and Estates of Morgan v. Fairfield Family Counseling Center (1997) circumstances have important implications on moral conduct in society. Students pursuing counselling careers should acknowledge conditions that necessitate breaking confidentiality with out looking for permission from sufferers. The information obtained from the 2 circumstances is vital for nurturing efficient counselors who will create secure atmosphere for shoppers and society as a complete.


American Counseling Association (ACA). (2014). 2014 ACA code of ethics. Web.

Appel, J. M. (2019). Trends in confidentiality and disclosure. Focus, 17(4), 360-364.

Conrad, R. (2020). Legal and moral challenges within the psychiatric therapy of faculty college students. Current psychiatry experiences, 22(9), 1-4.

Estates of Morgan v. Fairfield Family Counseling Center, 77 Ohio St. 3d 284 – 285 (Cal. 1997).

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Remley, T. P., Jr., & Herlihy, B. (2016). Ethical, authorized, {and professional} points in counseling (fifth ed.). Pearson.

Tarasoff v. Regents of University of California, 17 Cal. 3d 425 (Cal. 1976).

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