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Tarasoff vs. Regents of the University of California

1.) The media often cover cases in which the assessment of psychopathology is relevant. Pick a particular case that has obtained attention in the media that a psychiatrist and/or psychologist was involved in assessing the individual (please check the Discussion Board and do not duplicate cases).
Discuss the following, including source material/citations as appropriate:

1. What were the differences in the media portrayal and the information we learned in this unit?

2. If you were able to access the psychiatric and/or psychological reports, or conclusions, what were the major questions and issues in the assessment?

3. If you were not able to access this material, based on the information in this unit, what would be the major assessment questions at issue?

2.) In 1976, the Supreme Court of California ruled on a case that became precedent for many "duty to warn" state statutes.

Prosenjit Poddar was a graduate student at the University of California, Berkeley. He dated for a time a young woman named Tatiana Tarasoff. It was later established that Ms. Tarasoff may not have felt as serious about the relationship as Mr. Poddar did. Mr. Poddar is reported to have then sought assistance with some feelings of depression at the University Health Service with a Dr. Moore. During the course of therapy, Mr. Poddar conveyed to Dr. Moore that he intended to obtain a gun and shoot Ms. Tarasoff.

Dr. Moore sent a letter to the University of California-Berkeley police requesting that Mr. Poddar be detained and screened for psychiatric inpatient hospital admission. The police were reported to have interviewed Mr. Poddar and to have determined that he was not dangerous.

Sometime later, Ms. Tarasoff returned from a visit out of the country, at which time Mr. Poddar was reported to have stalked and killed her.

The Supreme Court of California later ruled that Dr. Moore had a duty to warn the potentially endangered Ms.
Tarasoff, which took legal precedence over the legal issues of therapist/client privilege and the ethic of therapist/client confidentiality.

Locate an additional reference regarding Tarasoff v. The Regents of the University of California, and address the following questions:

1. What would be minimally required for an appropriate assessment today in reference to the above case?

2. What specific information/data would be minimally acceptable for a thorough assessment in this case?

3. What would an evaluator need to know regarding issues about Mr. Poddar's competence to stand trial for this offense?

4. What would an evaluator need to know regarding issues about Mr. Poddar's sanity/insanity at the time of the offense?

Solution Preview

1. What would be minimally required for an appropriate assessment today in reference to the above case?

Based on the landmark ruling in Tarasoff vs. the Regents of the University of the Board of California, several cases have followed the ruling designed to enforce "the duty to warn" unsuspecting clients of impending harm. For instance, in the case of Rowland vs. Christian (1968) 69 Cal.ed108 [79 Cal.Rptr, 97445.P.2d561, 32A.L.R.3d496]. In this case, Justice Peters recognized that liability should be imposed for injury occasioned by his want of ordinary shall be expressed in Section 1714 of the civil code (www.publichealthlaw.net). In other words, when a person is in relationship with another, if the therapist did not use ordinary care and skill in his or her conduct, the therapist would be liable for failing to protect.

Therefore, care and skill would be include having competency in which to treat the patient as mandated under the American Psychological Association's Standard 2.o1.The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability privacy rule (HIPPA) was established in 2003 to provide uniform privacy protections over patients' health information. The policy included measures against access to the sharing of medical and financial records. Psychologists are required to obtain a patient's consent to using personal health information (PHI) to administer the transfer, treatment, payment and health care operations [e.g.. utilization review, auditing, ] (Beresoff, 2003).

2. What specific information/data would be minimally acceptable for a thorough assessment in this case?

The specific information that would be acceptable would be the ...

Solution Summary

This solution discusses the landmark case addressing the issue of the duty to warn.

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