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Weinstein's Federal Evidence
Copyright 2017, Matthew Bender & Company, Inc., a member of the LexisNexis Group.

3-514 Weinstein's Federal Evidence 514.syn


Doctor-Patient Privilege


Jack Jack Weinstein, Margaret Berger, Joseph M. McLaughlin; Hon. Joseph M. McLaughlin, Editorial Consultant

Chapter Summary


Although not recognized by the Federal Rules of Evidence, the doctor-patient privilege refers to a patient's right to exclude from evidence communications made by him to his physician.

This chapter of Weinstein's Federal Evidence sets forth the basic doctrines applicable to the doctor-patient privilege. It discusses the privilege from the vantage point of the Advisory Committee, which decided to omit any doctor-patient privilege from the proposed rules, and examines the principles governing the privilege from the standpoint of traditional and modern legal scholars. The chapter examines the federal courts' consistent reluctance to create a doctor-patient privilege as a matter of common law, and notes that federal courts do recognize a state's privilege in federal cases in which state law supplies the rule of decision. The chapter then reviews the common elements and scope of the privilege, along with its principal exceptions, as defined by state statutes and recognized by state courts.

Weinstein's Federal Evidence (Matthew Bender) is a comprehensive 6-volume treatise on federal evidence law for litigators who practice in federal court. Organized according to the Federal Rules of Evidence, each chapter includes the exact text of the rule, a complete analysis of the rule supported by extensive case citations, the original Advisory Committee Note and Congressional activity surrounding the adoption of the Rule, and similar materials for any subsequent amendments to the Rule. The analytical text focuses on the current state of the law and includes footnotes organized by circuits (with brief descriptions of each case), while retaining information on the historical development of the law in historical appendices to each chapter. Weinstein's Federal Practice provides expert analysis and coverage of unsettled evidence issues. It includes a chart listing each state that has adopted evidence rules based on the Federal Rules of Evidence, and compares the state version of each rule with the corresponding federal rule.


Federal Rules of Evidence,doctor-patient privilege,right to privacy,confidentiality,communications by patient,medical information,medical consultation,medical diagnosis,medical treatment,medical records


For a discussion of the role of the common law in the development of the federal law of evidentiary privileges, see Ch. 501, General Rule.

For more information on the privilege for required medical reports made confidential by state statute, see Ch. 502A, Required Reports Privileged by Statute.

For a discussion on when a communication to a doctor may be privileged under the lawyer-client privilege, see Ch. 503, Lawyer-Client Privilege.

For more information on the psychotherapist-patient privilege, see Ch. 504, Psychotherapist-Patient Privilege.


For a discussion of the tactical issues related to claims of privilege, see Federal Evidence Tactics, Ch. 5 (Matthew Bender).

For more information on the limitations on discovery, see Moore's Federal Practice, Ch. 26, General Provisions Governing Discovery; Duty of Disclosure (Matthew Bender).

For a discussion on waiver of privilege concerning physical or mental examinations of a party, see Moore's Federal Practice, Ch. 35, Physical and Mental Examination of Persons (Matthew Bender).
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