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What is the physician patient privilege in wrongful death cases?

In some situations, doctors can be hesitant to provide the deceased person’s medical info, and a lawsuit may need to be filed

Preserving confidentiality is an important part of the doctor-patient relationship. Confidentiality of medical records and medical information is so important because without it, patients might be uncomfortable discussing personal, sensitive information with their medical professionals. Understandably, doctors need patients to be comfortable discussing all aspects of their health and personal well-being because without complete information doctors often cannot make accurate diagnoses or recommend appropriate treatment.

The importance of this confidential relationship has been formally recognized in the legal community as the physician-patient privilege. This means that unless there are specific special circumstances, a doctor cannot disclose personal medical information without the consent of the patient and can be severely punished for disclosing this information.

The right to keep personal medical information private between a patient and medical provider rests with the patient. This means that if, for any reason, the patient wishes to disclose some or all of his or her medical history, he or she can do so without the medical provider’s permission. He or she can choose to disclose all or some of his or her medical history on an independent basis and choosing to disclose some medical information does not create an open window for complete disclosure.

In wrongful death cases, the medical records for the person who died may be needed to clarify questions about their physical and mental health before their death. An experienced wrongful death attorney can help you get copies of the necessary medical records to prove your wrongful death claim. This can include:

  • Surgery Reports
  • Anesthesiology Records
  • Prescriptions
  • Therapy/Psychiatric Reports
  • Physical Rehabilitation and Therapy Reports
  • Nurses Records
  • Hospital Records
  • Outpatient Reports
  • Diagnostic Test Results

In some situations, doctors will be hesitant to provide the deceased person’s medical information, which means a lawsuit may need to be filed before you will have access to your loved one’s medical records.

At The Perecman Firm P.L.L.C. we work with individuals and families to help them bring wrongful death claims for the loss of their loved ones. If you are having difficulty getting access to medical records after your loved one’s death, or are unsure which medical records to request or disclose, call us to discuss your options. We can answer any of your questions and help your family move forward in this difficult time.


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