Re: Inquiring minds: Insurance lawyers and their requests to talk with physicians

Issue: BCMJ, vol. 50 , No. 9 , November 2008 , Pages 491 Letters

We refer to the ICBC article in the April 2008 issue of the BC Medical Journal, 2008;50:127, titled “Inquiring minds: Insurance lawyers and their requests to talk with physicians.” The article states, “There is no obligation on the physician to cooperate with the defence lawyer and submit to an interview. However, a refusal may have inconvenient consequences.” 

The College of Physicians and Surgeons of British Columbia is concerned that physicians reviewing this article may not appreciate that there are important ethical and professional obligations which must be weighed in considering any requests from defence counsel for the release of patient information or participation in interviews. The College has previously provided specific guidance to physicians on this topic which, unfortunately, was not referred to in the article. The College’s position is that physicians should discuss with their patients and/or their patients’ lawyers all such requests and give due consideration to their pa­tients’ wishes. Physicians who receive requests from defence counsel to release patient information or participate in interviews are advised to review the guidance provided by the College on its web site at www.cpsbc.ca under Resource Manual for Physician Requests from Defence Lawyers. Physicians may also contact the College directly if they have specific questions in this area.

—A.J. Burak, MD
Deputy Registrar
College of Physicians and Surgeons of British Columbia

Jack Burak, MD. Re: Inquiring minds: Insurance lawyers and their requests to talk with physicians. BCMJ, Vol. 50, No. 9, November, 2008, Page(s) 491 - Letters.



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Halpern SD, Ubel PA, Caplan AL, Marion DW, Palmer AM, Schiding JK, et al. Solid-organ transplantation in HIV-infected patients. N Engl J Med. 2002;347:284-7.

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