Definition - What does Doctor-Patient Privilege mean?
Doctor-patient privilege is a legal confidentiality that exists between a patient and a doctor. Under this confidentiality, a doctor is forbidden to disclose medical information about a patient such as diagnoses, treatments, and anything related to medical history without the express permission of the patient. If a doctor testifies in a trial without the permission of the patient, the patient can sue the doctor. The laws regarding doctor-patient privilege vary at the state and federal levels.
Justipedia explains Doctor-Patient Privilege
Doctors have unique relationships with patients because they have access to sensitive medical information about the patient. For example, a doctor would know what anti-depressants a person might be taking. They may know if the patient was diagnosed with a certain illness. In certain cases, these types of medical facts can be highly relevant. However, the doctor-patient privilege exists to protect patients from having doctors testify about their medical information without their consent.
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