Jan 18 2008
Dr. Phil Apologizes For Britney Spears Visit
'Was it helpful to the situation? Regrettably, no,' TV personality tells audience in show airing Monday.
By Gil Kaufman
Dr. Phil is sorry. The TV physician has issued a statement apologizing for his controversial visit with Britney Spears while the singer was in the hospital on January 5, as well as a subsequent press release he issued about the incident.
"Was it helpful to the situation? Regrettably, no. It was not, and I have to acknowledge that, and I do," Phil McGraw told his audience Thursday during an episode of Dr. Phil that will run Monday, according to USA Today. "I definitely think if I had it to do over again, I probably wouldn't make any statement at all. Period."
McGraw said he issued an earlier statement about the visit to Entertainment Tonight because he knew the media would see him arriving at the hospital, and disputed criticism that he inappropriately discussed the troubled singer's condition in the release, in which he referred to her as being in "dire need of both medical and psychological intervention." Phil explained in the new statement that he "said that before I ever met her." Asked if he would make a similar visit at the request of concerned parents in the future, he said, "How do you not?"
A complaint was filed against McGraw earlier this week that accused him of violating the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act. The complaint alleges Dr. Phil practiced clinical psychology without a license and further violated doctor-patient privilege by discussing the pop star's case with the media. Although the California Board of Psychology is compelled to investigate all complaints, this one might not have much ground: According to state regulators, McGraw would have had to practice psychology in the legal sense, which is clearly defined in Section 2903 of the California Business and Professions Code, and he has stressed that he visited Spears as a family friend.