Thesis ID: CBB119621591

Creating Confidentiality: Physician-Patient Privilege and Medical Confidentiality in the United States, 1776–1975 (2019)


Wilkinson, Miles (Author)
Mohr, James C. (Advisor)

University of Oregon
Mohr, James C.
Publication date: 2019
Language: English

Publication Date: 2019
Physical Details: 199

This dissertation examines the rise of physician-patient privilege in the United States. Owing to the Duchess of Kingston’s 1776 trial for bigamy, the privilege is not recognized in many common law jurisdictions, including federal courtrooms. Beginning in New York in 1828, however, physician-patient privilege was gradually incorporated into the statutory codes of numerous states. At present, most American courtrooms observe some form of the privilege. Drawing upon medical and legal sources, especially professional journals, this dissertation places physician-patient privilege in its historical context, analyzing the ways in which developments within the medical and legal professions have shaped the evolution of the privilege. Understanding this history is essential in order to explain the history of privilege as policy—that is how physician-patient privilege became a widely accepted legal doctrine in the United States, why the privilege remains such an unevenly applied rule in American courts, and how law protects medical confidentiality today. But it is also sheds light on the intersections of two of America’s most powerful professions—medicine and the law—and carries implications to the broader history of professionalization.

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Authors & Contributors
Baker, Robert B.
Boujjoufi, Taieb El
Bourke, Joanna
Brier, Pascal
Caplan, Arthur L.
Chavigny, Katherine A.
Journal of the History of Medicine and Allied Sciences
Canadian Bulletin of Medical History/Bulletin Canadienne d'Histoire de la Medecine
Historical Research: The Bulletin of the Institute of Historical Research
Journal of the History of the Behavioral Sciences
Medical History
Bloomsbury Academic
Johns Hopkins University Press
Manchester University Press
University of Rochester Press
University of Connecticut
Medicine and society
Physicians; doctors
Professions and professionalization
Public health
Palmer, Daniel David
Time Periods
19th century
18th century
20th century
17th century
15th century
United States
Great Britain
American Medical Association

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