Physician-Patient Privilege And Wrongful Death Cases

by Pacific Legal GroupJanuary 3, 2022August 3rd, 2023Uncategorized

Wrongful Death Lawyer

The physician-patient privilege is something that everyone knows very well as it is the rule that protects the privacy of a patient’s medical record, however this often becomes a problem after the patient has been determined to have died from a wrongful death. Obviously, there is a lot of controversy and debate about whether the privacy of a deceased patient’s medical records should be altered or released, especially in the case of wrongful death.

Some people believe that the patient’s privacy should extend after they have died while others believe there is no need for privacy to extend especially if that privilege is going to stop the physicians or individuals or businesses from being able to defend themselves in the case of a wrongful death lawsuit.


But what is physician-patient privilege?

The physician-patient privilege is the right of privacy in a medical context. This is a federal law and is also the law in every state. Patients have a right to say no that they do not want their medical information shared without their consent. In the general rule of thumb is that unless the patient or decedent weaves the privilege, the physician cannot disclose the information acquired by them as they tended to the patient in a professional capacity. The physician-patient privilege does not cover information that is public or commonly known about the patient, it only covers private and protected health information and an offense of receiving a court order to produce medical information, then your physician-patient privilege can be legally breached.

Waiver of the privilege

You might be wondering why somebody might waive their privileges to privacy, and that is going to be different for every person, because every person is going to have the right to decide whether they want their information to be publicly known or not. However, the fact that somebody is deceased does not make their privacy unnecessary, and it does not dissolve the privilege that they had to have their information private. While some state laws provide the decedent’s personal representative, surviving spouse or even their next of kin is allowed to waive the physician-patient privilege for the decedent, this is not true in every state and if you believe that your right to leave your loved ones patient privileges is being denied you speak to a wrongful death lawyer in your state that knows the laws you are dealing with.

A wrongful death plaintiff’s right to receive the decedent’s medical records outside of the context of the litigation itself is disputed by stating that you are seeking to claim medical records in consideration of litigation is often enough to make these records absolute and bring forth a wrongful death action case. Bringing forth a wrongful death case can cause the physician-patient privilege to be waived, and this is especially true if the decedent’s lifetime health is the discussion of this wrongful death case.

Speak to a wrongful death lawyer today if you have questions about the physician-patient privilege in your state or think you may have a wrongful death case.

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