January 28, 1928


JAMA. 1928;90(4):305. doi:10.1001/jama.1928.02690310057022

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Right of Privileged Communication  French law provides that a physician must keep absolutely secret everything that his patient confides to him and also everything that his profession has revealed to him. To be sure, medicolegal experts appointed by the courts to throw light on an affair are excepted; also physicians of life insurance companies, and physicians charged by the police or by the patient to certify to lesions resulting from an accident. Such certificates, which, in reality, violate the right of privileged communication, cause no harm to the patient, as their contents are known only to the lawyer and to the court, and, furthermore, have to do only with wounds and avowable diseases. But the proposed law pertaining to social insurance will compel physicians to make out certificates concerning all sorts of disorders, including venereal diseases, tuberculosis, cancer, insanity, alcoholism and the like. They may harm the patient and his

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