Case analysis




Tarasoffv. Regents of University of California


TheTarasoff v. Regents of the University of California was brought tothe Supreme Court by parents who claimed that the mental healthprofessionals fail to take necessary actions to protect theirdaughter from a patient. Consequently, their daughter was killed by amentally ill patient. He was convicted of murder, but the decisionwas overturned by the appellate court (Townsend, 2014).


Theparents of the victim, Tatiana Tarasoff argued that mental healthworkers did not warn their daughter against the risks of associatingwith the patient. However, the superior court ruled that the jury wasnot instructed sufficiently and thus overturned the conviction of thedefendant. He was released and directed to return to his homecountry. The plaintiff sought a review from the Supreme Court(Townsend, 2014).


Themain issue that the court needed to address is whether psychiatristshave an obligation to protect other persons from harm by theirpatients. However, the question is to what extent are the risksforeseeable. Nonetheless, I agree with the court’s arguments.


Thecourt ruled that the plaintiffs had a valid claim against thepsychiatrists and the facility.


Theruling of the court had huge impacts on the health care system.Medical ethics indicates that health professionals should treatconversations with their client as private. However, he or she has aduty of protecting the society from potential risks associated withthe patient. Thus, the overall implications of the decision wereincreased responsibility among therapists. Additionally, several lawshave been inspired by the findings of the court. For example, themajority of states have statutes that make it mandatory forpsychiatrists to protect other individuals. As a result, evaluatingthe risks associated with the client is an important aspect of thetherapy (Townsend, 2014). The Supreme Court could have ruled in thesame way if the case was heard in the modern times.


Townsend,M. (2014). Essentialsof psychiatric mental health nursing: concepts of care inevidence-based practice.Philadelphia: F.A. Davis Company.