What role did a hospital play in the Colorado theater shooting?

A judge is faced with the decision to allow or ban potentially protected physician-patient information in the Colorado theater massacre case.

Shooting suspect James Holmes called the University of Colorado Hospital switchboard nine minutes before the shooting, looking for his psychiatrist, Lynne Fenton, defense attorneys said Thursday, Fox News reported. However, the hospital on Friday said no one at the hospital talked to Holmes before the shooting, although one caller did hang up without saying anything around that time, the news outlet noted.

The high-profile case draws questions about doctor-patient confidentiality. After seeing Fenton once in a June 11 session, Holmes on July 19 sent the psychiatrist a notebook, which outlined plans of a massacre, prosecutors say, the Los Angeles Times reported. Investigators are asking for access to the notebook, but defense attorneys say the record is inadmissible because it's protected by doctor-patient privilege.

Fenton testified, saying their relationship was limited to that one session, when the privileged relationship ended, the Associated Press reported.

In addition to patient privacy ethics, the case also opens up the discussion as to whether the hospital played a role in preventing the tragic event. According to FoxNews, the package arrived at the university mailroom before the shooting but was unopened and undelivered, although the university disputes the package had arrived before the shooting.

Holmes is accused of killing 12 people and wounding 58 others, the LA Times reported.

For more information:
- read the Fox News article
- see the LA Times article
- here's the AP article

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