In recent years, many courts have held that doctors are supposed to protect third persons who may be harmed by patients. This often results in a duty to release medical records or medical information without either knowledge or consent on the part of the patient. For example, without a patient’s permission or knowledge, doctors may warn others or the police if the patient is mentally unstable, potentially violent, or has threatened a specific person. In some states, the duty to report or warn others “trumps” the right to confidentiality or privileged communication with a doctor. Courts will decide these matters by balancing the sanctity of the confidentiality against the foreseeability of harm to a third party.