Right to medical privacy after death upheld in Florida Supreme Court (US News)

A widow won a victory today when the Florida Supreme Court ruled that her husband’s privacy is protected by the state constitution after death no matter the circumstances.

Emma Weaver is suing her late husband’s doctor, Stephen Myers, for malpractice related to her husband’s medical treatment and Myers’ attorneys sought to investigate the deceased’s medical history. Weaver filed a suit to prevent Myers from violating her dead husband’s privacy.

In a 4-3 decision, the court ruled that medical privacy does not end with death and that there are no circumstances in which that privacy can be invaded. It was the Supreme Court opinion that if an individual’s privacy rights ended at death, it would have a “chilling” effect on how they conducted themselves while alive.

“If we were to follow Dr. Myers’ argument that a person experiences the loss of privacy applicable while living upon the change in status from alive to dead, then the secrets of that person’s life, including his or her sexual preference, political views, religious beliefs, views about family members, medical history and any other thought or belief the person considered to be private and a secret are subject to full revelation upon death,” Justice Fred Lewis wrote in the opinion.

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