The Vermont Statutes Online

Title 12: Court Procedure

Chapter 61: WITNESSES

Sub-Chapter 01: Qualifications, Privileges, And Credibility

12 V.S.A. § 1612. Patient's privilege



§ 1612. Patient's privilege

(a) Confidential information privileged. Unless the patient waives the privilege or unless the privilege is waived by an express provision of law, a person authorized to practice medicine, chiropractic, or dentistry, a registered professional or licensed practical nurse, or a mental health professional as defined in 18 V.S.A. § 7101(13) shall not be allowed to disclose any information acquired in attending a patient in a professional capacity, including joint or group counseling sessions, and which was necessary to enable the provider to act in that capacity.

(b) Identification by dentist; crime committed against patient under 16. A dentist shall be required to disclose information necessary for identification of a patient. A physician, dentist, chiropractor, or nurse shall be required to disclose information indicating that a patient who is under the age of 16 years has been the victim of a crime.

(c) Mental or physical condition of deceased patient.

(1) A physician, chiropractor, or nurse shall be required to disclose any information as to the mental or physical condition of a deceased patient privileged under subsection (a) of this section, except information which would tend to disgrace the memory of the decedent, either in the absence of an objection by a party to the litigation or when the privilege has been waived:

(A) by the personal representative, or the surviving spouse, or the next of kin of the decedent; or

(B) in any litigation where the interests of the personal representative are deemed by the trial judge to be adverse to those of the estate of the decedent, by any party in interest; or

(C) if the validity of the will of the decedent is in question, by the executor named in the will, or the surviving spouse or any heir-at-law or any of the next of kin or any other party in interest.

(2) A physician, dentist, chiropractor, mental health professional, or nurse shall be required to disclose any information as to the mental or physical condition of a deceased patient privileged under subsection (a) of this section upon request to the Chief Medical Examiner. (Added 1973, No. 190 (Adj. Sess.), eff. July 1, 1974; amended 1981, No. 221 (Adj. Sess.), § 1; 1991, No. 236 (Adj. Sess.), § 2; 1993, No. 222 (Adj. Sess.), § 23; 2009, No. 55, § 12.)