When a person goes to see a doctor, he may think the consultation is afforded a degree of confidentiality which, in fact, does not exist. This is especially true if the patient should get involved in a lawsuit. The presumed protection is known as physicianpatient privilege, and, while many states have recently enacted or expanded privilege law, in some circumstances, the protection may be less than complete.
This hazard to some of the more personal aspects of medical treatment is described by Slawson in a recent contribution to the Archives of General Psychiatry.1 He reported the case of a young woman who, after three years of intensive psychotherapy, decided to divorce her husband on the routine grounds of mental cruelty. In an effort to resist this action, the husband asserted that because his wife had made her mental condition an issue in the proceedings she qualified under an exception