Physician-Patient Confidentiality in Lawsuits

The confidentiality between doctor and patient is something that is taken for granted. It allows patients to feel safe in divulging sensitive condition about their physical, emotional, and mental well-being. The thought that everything you say won’t go outside the doctor’s office is reassuring for some. But what if this is taken away from you?

The Court of Appeals of New York has determined that someone who files a lawsuit loses this privilege. Basically, it is assumed that plaintiffs do not have the same expectations of privacy like anyone else. Plaintiffs have the responsibility of providing all pertinent medical information and records related to the injury. However, it went further than that.

In the Arons v. Jutkowitz case in 2007, the Court stated the plaintiff has to allow the defendant to speak to his physician. In essence, what it says is that defense attorneys can grill the plaintiff’s physician without provision that the plaintiff has to be present.

But a new bill was introduced to reestablish the physician-patient privilege. There is a group that represents health care providers that opposes the bill. Seemingly, one such group thinks that they can protect their own interest because some of its providers are sued for medical malpractice. This group, the Greater New York Hospital Association, wants the bill to be scrapped.

According to Brian Conway who serves as spokesperson, “The egregious bill is nothing more than a gift to trial lawyers that will send already outrageously high medical malpractice premiums for hospitals and doctors through the roof.” The bill’s sponsor, Rory Lancman, stated that the bill protects the patient’s rights.

 

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