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June 16, 1894


JAMA. 1894;XXII(24):927. doi:10.1001/jama.1894.02421030031010

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The rule as to privileged communications between patient and physician, the Supreme Court of California holds, in the case of People v. Lane, decided March 3, 1894, does not apply in criminal cases. The chapter on " Witnesses " in the California Code of Civil Procedure, limits the rule to civil actions, and the Penal Code, which expressly preserves the rule as to husband and wife in the chapter determining "who may be witnesses in criminal actions," makes no mention of physician and patient. At common law the rule as to physicians was not observed in either civil or criminal cases. The statutory privilege was not conferred to shield a person charged with the murder of another, and it certainly was not intended to be used as a weapon against one charged with crime.

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