Discovery of Name and Address of Nonparty Patient Alleged to Have Witnessed Negligence or Malpractice Prohibited Because Such Disclosure Would Reveal Privileged Information Re: the Nonparty Patient’s Diagnosis and Treatment (by Virtue of the Unit in Which the Nonparty Patient and Plaintiff’s Decedent Were Housed)
The Second Department determined plaintiff was not entitled to the name of a psychiatric patient who was a roommate of plaintiff’s decedent. Generally, the name and address of a nonparty patient who is alleged to have observed negligence or malpractice are discoverable. But CPLR 4505(a) prohibits revealing the nonparty patient’s name and address when, as here, the information will reveal privileged information concerning the nonparty patient’s diagnosis and treatment:
“As a general rule, disclosure of the name and address of a nonparty patient who may have been a witness to an alleged act of negligence or malpractice does not violate the patient’s privilege of confidentiality of treatment” … . However, where it is not possible to comply with a demand for the name and address of a patient without disclosing privileged information concerning diagnosis and treatment, discovery is prohibited pursuant to CPLR 4504(a) … .
Contrary to the plaintiff’s contention, the Supreme Court properly concluded that [*2]discovery of the decedent’s hospital roommate’s identifying information was prohibited under CPLR 4504(a). The decedent was housed in a unit of the [hospital] that was designated for patients ages 12 to 15 years old who suffered from certain psychiatric disorders. Since the roommate’s location in that unit of the Holliswood Hospital would, by simple deduction, reveal her medical status, disclosure was prohibited … . Kneisel v QPH Inc, 2015 NY Slip Op 00503, 2nd Dept 1-21-15