Our expert says:
That's a legal question, but I reall doubt it. The doctor is required to keep medical records for years after he has stopped treating the patient, and not to destroy them. He is also ex[ected to keep them confidential unless and until he is ordered by a Court of law, to produce them. I suspect this might be less likely in a civil than a criminal matter, as the court would have to weight the patient's right to confidentiality with whatever benefit might acrue to the other party in the case,
Especially if the psychiatrist knew about the civil case, it would look especiall bad for him to destroy records, and a court might also assume that the records proved guilt or something on the part of the person whose records were destroyed ( otherwise what reason would there have been for destroying them )
There would be no way to go "all innocently" to the shrink, because it is so enormously rare for anyone to ask us to destroy records, that he could never do so without asking in detail why you asked. He'd have a duty to ask why, even more than a right to ask.
Would the other side in the civil case know that there had been psych treatment and that the records might be useful to their case ? If they didn\t know, they wouldn't ask the court to get them. A court would be much less likely to allow a breach of confidentiality on a "fishing expedition" than if there were existing evidence that critically important evidence would be contained in the records.
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