If, during a medical examination, an alleged accused says anything that might incriminate himself, it should be neither recorded nor reported.[emphasis mine]

source: Synopsis of forensic medicine and Toxicology by K.S. Narayan Reddy

Country: India

Why should the officer not record this clue? or report it? If the convict is self incriminating (though by ignorance) then why not take advantage?

  • 13
    "Why should the officer not record this clue?" The text says "during a medical examination", so presumably the person present would be a nurse or physician, not an officer.
    – sleske
    Oct 24, 2017 at 19:29
  • 12
    The general term here is physician-patient privilege: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Physician%E2%80%93patient_privilege Oct 24, 2017 at 20:20
  • 4
    Does India have the legal concept of not forcing a suspect to incriminate themselves?
    – Freiheit
    Oct 24, 2017 at 20:37
  • 5
    I don't want to answer, but I like this quote "By its very nature medical practice involves the opening up of private lives to external scrutiny. The understanding that medical consultations are confidential encourages openness, trust, and frank disclosure of all possibly relevant information between patient and doctor. This in turn facilitates efficient and effective diagnosis, prognosis, and treatment of illness and disease. Confidentiality is therefore an integral element of the patient-doctor relationship, playing a vital role in the primary healing purpose of the profession."
    – Nathan
    Oct 25, 2017 at 14:06
  • 3
    @Freiheit Yes, en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Self-incrimination#Indian_law, but IIRC mandatory reporting laws also exist in cases of, say, child abuse.
    – gone
    Oct 26, 2017 at 6:43

2 Answers 2


If such conversations are reported, it can place the suspect in a dilemma.

Consider a man who appears to have overdosed on illegal narcotics. He is taken to the hospital, and the doctor asks what kind of drugs he took, in order to plan his treatment. If the man thinks that what he says could be used to prosecute him, he might lie to the doctor. Then he would not receive proper medical treatment, putting his health at risk.

Lawmakers or police authorities might decide that it is better for society for people to always be able to speak freely to their doctors and receive proper treatment, even if it means that it will sometimes be harder to prosecute criminals. That would be one possible rationale for a rule like this.

  • 1
    I am interested how this would apply to rape situations - if a man was there for an STI test and admitted to having raped someone, would the doctor still not report them?
    – Tim
    Oct 24, 2017 at 20:57
  • 27
    I have a sneaky suspicion that a sexual assault would not be called a sexual assault by the assailant during a medical exam... They would probably say they had regular sexual intercourse and leave it at that... Oct 24, 2017 at 21:03
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    @Tim Why would you expect rape to be different from any other crime, like using drugs? Oct 25, 2017 at 1:33
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    @IllusiveBrian there is another victim in q sexual assault, whereas drug use is (typically) only going to affect the patient in question.
    – Tim
    Oct 25, 2017 at 1:38
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    @Tim, the scope of doctor-client privilege varies between jurisdictions. In some cases it is a question of professional ethics rather than evidence law, in which case the seriousness of the crime might affect whether it would be unethical for the doctor to disclose it. Many jurisdictions (including India, which the questioner specified) have 'mandatory reporting' laws which override the privilege, especially in cases of child sexual abuse.
    – sjy
    Oct 25, 2017 at 3:47

In the United States, whatever you say to your doctor or form you fill out is protected by the doctor-patient privilige.

If a district attorney or prosecutor were to present a recording or file of this in court, it would be deemed inadmissible by the judge based on the previously mentioned privilege. Furthermore, your doctor would not be able to testify on the prosecution's behalf about any conversation he or she had with you.

In India, there is a similar privilege in the Code of Medical Ethics Regulation. In section 2.2 it states:

Confidences concerning individual or domestic life entrusted by patients to a physician and defects in the disposition or character of patients observed during medical attendance should never be revealed unless their revelation is required by the laws of the State.


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