Therapeutic Privilege Law and Legal Definition

Therapeutic privilege is the right of a physician not to disclose information that would pose a serious psychological threat to a patient. The therapeutic privilege is an exception to the general rule of informed consent. It is usually applied in situations where the disclosure of the information itself could pose serious and immediate harm to the patient. However, the exception of therapeutic privilege does not apply when disclosure will merely lead to refusal of care that the physician thinks advantageous. It is also termed as therapeutic exception. In order to assure that the use of the therapeutic privilege exception is "carefully circumscribed," the trial court should ensure that the defendant physician who claims the privilege expressly testifies that his or her decision to withhold information was based on specific considerations in the individual patient's case and identify those considerations.