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Psychiatr Clin North Am. 2007 Dec;30(4):663-76.

Legal concerns in psychosomatic medicine.

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Department of Psychiatry, Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School, 15 Parkman Street, WAC 812, Boston, MA 02114, USA.


In the practice of psychosomatic medicine, the psychiatric consultant is likely to be confronted with questions at the interface of psychiatry and law. These issues generally emerge around questions of confidentiality and exceptions to confidentiality, assessments of a patient's ability to consent to and refuse treatment, and concerns about malpractice liability. Overall, psychiatrists should approach the care of patients clinically, while understanding the applicable laws and regulations of the jurisdictions in which they practice. In addition, clinicians should be aware of the legal and risk management resources available to them should a complex situation arise. Finally, the psychiatric consultant should make use of consultation when complex issues emerge at the interface of psychiatry and law.

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