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West J Med. 1988 Feb;148(2):231-4.

The duty to protect others from your patients--Tarasoff spreads to the Northwest.


The California Supreme Court's Tarasoff decision was the seminal case in the area of the duty to protect third parties from the potential of violence from patients. Tarasoff-related issues have now spread to many jurisdictions in the country. This article will pay particular attention to the cases influencing law in Washington and Oregon and will review the clinical duty to protect others from your patients that existed before Tarasoff, as physicians were taught to work between privilege and civil commitment statutes. The California law designed to limit Tarasoff liability and the reasons why legislators should be willing to support such legislation are discussed.

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