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The Psychiatrist and Privileged Communication

RALPH SLOVENKO, LL.B.; GENE L. USDIN, M.D.
Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1961;4(5):431-444. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1961.01710110001001.
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1. Introduction  Contrary to widespread medical opinion, physicians are required in some instances ethically and legally to reveal information obtained from patients. The Hippocratic oath, still administered to graduating classes of most colleges of medicine, pledges that "whatsoever I shall see or hear in the course of my profession as well as outside my profession in my intercourse with men, if it be what should not be published abroad, I will never divulge, holding such things to be holy secrets." The Hippocratic oath admits by implication the propriety of di vulgence when it is what should be published.Along with the ethical duty, the physician has a legal responsibility to maintain secrecy, but under prescribed circumstances to reveal confidences. The obligation of the physician generally is to maintain the confidentiality of the patient and violation of the obligation may justify an action for damages for defamation

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The American Medical Association is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education to provide continuing medical education for physicians. The AMA designates this journal-based CME activity for a maximum of 1 AMA PRA Category 1 CreditTM per course. Physicians should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity. Physicians who complete the CME course and score at least 80% correct on the quiz are eligible for AMA PRA Category 1 CreditTM.
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