The Hippocratic Oath is a promise made by a doctor. In this oath, the physician swears to do no harm, promising to respect a patient’s autonomy, providing confidentiality and esteem. The trust between a doctor and patient is almost always implicit and immediate because of this oath. Moreover, doctors attend school for years and years, accumulating mountains of debt in the process. Therefore, most people automatically presume they must be able to be trusted to care for our health – our very livelihood. But, what happens when the person taking the oath says the words but means none of them? The destruction that can follow a doctor who has set out to harm is immeasurable, even more so when the harm leads to the death of dozens of innocent victims.
The medical system prides itself on following the Hippocratic oath – never revealing the secrets of patients. Even in some legal cases, medical records cannot be released without subpoenas or warrants. This has made it possible for psychiatric patients to make threats while in therapy, without worrying their therapist will report the threats to the police or the intended victim. Today, we have three cases where victims and their families questioned whether therapists have a duty to warn.
The grunge rock scene exploded in Seattle, Washington, in the early ’90s. Bands like Nirvana were rising in popularity, but Seattle called itself home to many up and coming stars. Many of those bands vied for their chance to play at the Comet Tavern, a local bar that still stands today. Mia Zapata and her band, The Gits, were one of the grunge rock bands that were on their way to top. They put in the work, and while they weren’t overnight sensations, they rocked their way to a steady climb upwards. The Gits signed a record deal with the famed Atlantic Records, made an album, and scheduled a tour. Life was going exactly how Mia Zapata always dreamed it would. Until 1993, the night when the devil himself attacked Mia, brutally robbing her life and the world of her music.