Court upholds Fla. law on sharing medical information

Defendants in malpractice lawsuits cannot try to circumvent a Florida law that bars them from obtaining confidential medical information about plaintiffs from other doctors or dentists who are treating them, according to a new ruling from the Florida Supreme Court.

The December 20 ruling prohibits private meetings about cases between lawyers and plaintiffs' other doctors even if they intend to discuss only nonprivileged matters, according to a Daily Record story.

The decision came in the case of Lanny Garvar, DMD, a Tamarac dentist who was sued by a former patient for allegedly failing to diagnose and treat his dental condition, resulting in a bone infection that left the patient with "permanent and severe physical and emotional damage."

The plaintiff's insurer, OMS National Insurance, also covers Jennifer Schaumberg, DDS, an oral surgeon who later treated the plaintiff.

Two lower court decisions would have permitted Dr. Schaumberg's lawyer, who was hired by the insurance company, to discuss nonprivileged aspects of Dr. Garvar's case with her.

But a 1988 Florida law states that "the medical condition of a patient may not be discussed with any person other than the patient or the patient's legal representative."

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