Here is a new video on our GLF Summary Series: It's a summary of the exception to the hearsay rule known as the rule about “Statements made for the purpose of medical diagnosis and treatment.” It is found in Federal Rule of Evidence 803(4).

Please recall that ‘‘Hearsay’’ refers to a statement that is not made while testifying at the current trial or hearing and is offered into evidence to prove the truth of the matter asserted in the statement.

A ‘‘statement’’ is what a person said or wrote but also includes nonverbal conduct, if the person

intended the conduct as an assertion.

The General Rule is that Hearsay statements are not admissible in court.

Rule 803(4) says that a statement that is made for—and is reasonably pertinent to—medical diagnosis or treatment; and that describes medical history; past or present symptoms or sensations; their inception; or their general cause is not hearsay and is therefore admissible in court.

This exception is not limited to statements by patients, but it als applies to any declarant having an interest in the proper diagnosis or treatment of the patient, such as the parents of a child for example.

The underlying assumption is that the patient understands the importance of being truthful with the medical personnel in order to receive an accurate diagnosis and treatment so there is indicia of reliability.

When the court is satisfied that the proffered statement is relevant to the issues to be decided by the jury and the statement was made for the purpose of medical diagnosis or treatment then the statement should be admitted into evidence

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