SEC. 13-1-21. Communications privileged; exception.
(1) All communications made to a physician, osteopath, dentist, hospital, nurse, pharmacist, podiatrist, optometrist or chiropractor by a patient under his charge or by one seeking professional advice are hereby declared to be privileged, and such party shall not be required to disclose the same in any legal proceeding except at the instance of the patient or, in case of the death of the patient, at the instance of his personal representative or legal heirs in case there be no personal representative, or except, if the validity of the will of the decedent is in question, at the instance of the personal representative or any of the legal heirs or any contestant or proponent of the will.
(2) Waiver of the medical privilege of patients regarding the release of medical information to health care personnel, the State Board of Health or local health departments, made to comply with Sections 41-3-15, 41-23-1 and 41-23-2 and related rules, shall be implied. The medical privilege likewise shall be waived to allow any physician, osteopath, dentist, hospital, nurse, pharmacist, podiatrist, optometrist or chiropractor to report to the State Department of Health necessary information regarding any person afflicted with any communicable disease or infected with the causative agent thereof who neglects or refuses to comply with accepted protective measures to prevent the transmission of the communicable disease.
(3) Willful violations of the provisions of this section shall constitute a misdemeanor and shall be punishable as provided for by law. Any physician, osteopath, dentist, hospital, nurse, pharmacist, podiatrist, optometrist, or chiropractor shall be civilly liable for damages for any willful or reckless and wanton acts or omissions constituting such violations.
(4) In any action commenced or claim made after July 1, 1983, against a physician, hospital, hospital employee, osteopath, dentist, nurse, pharmacist, podiatrist, optometrist or chiropractor for professional services rendered or which should have been rendered, the delivery of written notice of such claim or the filing of such an action shall constitute a waiver of the medical privilege and any medical information relevant to the allegation upon which the cause of action or claim is based shall be disclosed upon the request of the defendant, or his or her counsel.
(5) In any disciplinary action commencing on or after July 1, 1987, against a medical physician, an osteopathic physician or a podiatrist pursuant to the provisions of Sections 73-25-1 through 73-25-39, 73-25-51 through 73-25-67, 73-25-81 through 73-25-95 and 73-27-1 through 73-27-19, waiver of the medical privilege of a patient to the extent of any information other than that which would identify the patient shall be implied.
SOURCES: Codes, 1906, Sec. 3695; Hemingway's 1917, Sec. 6380; 1930, Sec. 1536; 1942, Sec. 1697; Laws, 1944, ch. 315; 1968, ch. 441, Sec. 4, eff from and after passage (approved July 17, 1968). Laws, 1976, ch. 347; 1979, ch. 408; 1982, ch. 407; 1983, ch. 327; 1987, ch. 500, Sec. 2; 1988, ch. 557, Sec. 3, eff from and after July 1, 1988.