physician-patient privilege

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physician-patient privilege

n. the right of a physician to refuse to testify in a trial or other legal proceeding about any statement made to him/her by a patient, on the basis that any communication between doctor and patient is confidential. A patient could sue the physician for damages if the doctor breaches the confidence by testifying. Of course, in most trials involving injuries the physician will testify with the plaintiff's permission. Note: when the defendant's physician examines the injured plaintiff, the plaintiff has given permission for that examination and potential testimony, so a plaintiff must be cautious in making statements. (See: confidential communication, privilege)