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Can your physian-patient confidentiality be breached if a physian is a whitness in court for a wrongful death case in Arkansas?

Little Rock, AR |

I authorized my civil atty's to my medical records & to speak w/ my psychiatrist. There was one note of a discussion from 2007 that damaged my case. They told me it was inadmissable but then turned around and used it to attack the credibility of my whitness who was there in dr's office when note was taken. Could this have been worked out?

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Attorney answers 5


You need to have this question answered by one or more attorneys in Arkansas who specialize in medical malpractice.


Too few facts are provided. I cannot tell whether your lawyer or the other side used the information, and whether the use of the information helped or hurt your case. Ask you lawyer what happened and what could have made for a different outcome. It sounds like a possible waiver of physician-patient privilege as an outsider was present when you met with the doctor.

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I don't know how to answer your question as phrased. I don't know what you meanb by "worked out". Your lawyers possibly should have seen this coming.......... IF they knew what the testimony was likely to be. But........ The courts decide (the judges) what evidence can come into the trial. Evidence that is otherwise inadmissible can be admitted for limited or purposes other being generally admissible. Impeachment (attacking credibility) is often one of the ways things otherwise inadmissible get into evidence.


First, when a personal injury or wrongful death case gets filed, the general rule is that your medical history is put into issue. Second, in many cases, even when evidence is considered
"inadmissible" you can still possibly be asked about matters in your past for the purpose of testing your credibility with a jury. The document itself may not be evidence, but the circumstances can sometimes come in on cross-examination. The normal defense to something like this is to file a pre-trial motion in limine, which is a motion to keep out certain testimony. Chances are there would have been no good way to "work out" for opposing counsel to avoid using the information, but many things are subject to being negotiated.


Local evidence law governs this qustion. If, however you want to recover, you will likly have to give up any right to privicy.

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