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apgambrell
04-19-2014, 12:56 AM
If a suspect is injured in the process of trying to make an escape from the police (like in a car accident), can the doctor tell the police about the extent of the injuries or does confidentiality apply in such a situation?

In my story, a suspect is injured in a car wreck and my main characters want to know the extent of the injuries. Can a doctor tell them or would they have to ask the next of kin instead? Also, the suspect has a warrant issued for the collection of his DNA. Does he have to be conscious for this to take place or can my main characters take it while he's in the hospital and unconscious?

jclarkdawe
04-19-2014, 02:34 AM
A doctor cannot testify to spoken information from the patient that is given for the purposes of diagnosing the patient's condition. For example:

Doctor -- "How fast were you going?"
Patient -- "At least 120, maybe more."

This would probably not be admissible.

Anything that the doctor observes he can testify to and tell the police without a warrant. This includes X-rays, MRI, Cat-Scan, et cetera, although a smart police department gets a warrant.

DNA pursuant to a search warrant can be obtained while the patient is unconscious.

Best of luck,

Jim Clark-Dawe

WeaselFire
04-20-2014, 10:17 AM
... although a smart police department gets a warrant.
I don't know a department or investigator who wouldn't apply for a warrant for this information. Makes things neat and tidy for the DA, and they love that. Any time there is no specific urgency for the information, where a few hours delay would result in serious threats to others, an agency will go for a warrant.

Jeff