State v. Smith, ___ N.C. App. ___, 789 S.E.2d 873 (Aug. 2, 2016)

The court rejected the defendant’s argument that the trial court erred by admitting his medical records into evidence. The court began by rejecting the defendant’s argument that under the plain language of the physician-patient privilege statute, G.S. 8-53, disclosure of a patient’s medical records may be compelled only by judicial order after determination that such disclosure is necessary to a proper administration of justice. No authority suggests that this statute provides the exclusive means of obtaining patient medical records. G.S. 90-21.20B allows law enforcement to obtain such records through a search warrant and permits disclosure of protected health information notwithstanding G.S. 8-53. Next the court rejected the defendant’s argument that G.S. 90-21.20B did not permit the disclosure to law enforcement and use at trial of the medical records.