Ziegler v. Superior Court

In Ziegler v. Superior Court, 134 Ariz. 390, 391, 656 P.2d 1251, 1252 (App. 1982), the Court held that such charts could be used to support her claim of negligent supervision by the hospital, provided the patients' identities and privacy were protected. See Ziegler, 134 Ariz. at 393, 395, 656 P.2d at 1254, 1256. In the process, the Court discussed the competing interests at stake and weighed the public interest in hospitals adequately supervising members of their medical staffs against the privacy interests of individual patients who were not parties to the litigation: Medical records of other patients who might have had unnecessary pacemaker implantations are relevant to the notice issue. It is thus readily apparent that a blanket prohibition against examination and use against the hospital of such records would result in an injustice. We believe that the order of this court, set forth above, adequately safeguards the privacy of former patients not parties to this litigation and preserves the spirit of the physician-patient privilege. At the same time it furthers the public interest by insuring that hospitals will more scrupulously supervise the members of their medical staffs and prevent exposure of future patients to medical incompetence. We cannot see how any patient would be inhibited in confiding in his doctor when there is no risk of humiliation and embarrassment, and no invasion of the patient's privacy. Id. at 394, 656 P.2d at 1255.