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Subpoenas

A subpoena is an order of the court for a witness to appear at a particular time and place to testify at a hearing. The subpoena may also require the witness to bring and produce documents in the control of that witness.

  1. Upon receipt of a subpoena the employee must notify their immediate supervisor and the Legal and Privacy Department of Alberta Health Services.
  2. The individual named in the subpoena must attend court on the time and date specified in the subpoena. Advice will be provided upon request if the employee is called as a witness.
  3. If the subpoena requires that any documents be produced the subpoena must be read carefully and only the documents specifically included or listed in the subpoena may be taken to court. For example, if the subpoena requires that documents be produced that are in the custody and control of the witness it is only those documents that the witness actually has in their custody and control that may be taken. If the subpoena requires that documents be produced that are relevant to a certain matter it is only those documents that are relevant to the matter that may be taken. Questions regarding the wording and requirements of a subpoena should be referred to the Legal and Privacy Department for assistance.

Do I need to take the chart with me?

  • You are not the custodian of the chart, AHS is, and as such, there is no legal obligation on you to take the chart or an excerpt of the chart with you to Court, unless specific documents are indicated in the subpoena.
  • If you do want to take your own chart notes with you to Court to refresh your memory, that is acceptable (but not mandatory). If you want to do this, then:
    • You should know that your chart notes may be entered into evidence at the trial as an exhibit.
    • You should make four photocopies of your own chart notes to take with you to Court (i.e. copies for yourself, each side in the case and the Judge). You need to make these photocopies yourself rather than have somebody else do that so that you can truthfully say that the copies are true copies of the originals.

Can I discuss the case and the care I provided to the patient with the patient’s lawyer before the trial begins?

  • If you are presented with a written Consent or Authorization from the patient allowing you to discuss his or her personal health information with his/her lawyer prior to trial, then it is fine for you to discuss personal and health information with the patient’s lawyer prior to trial.
  • If you are not presented with a written Consent or Authorization from the patient allowing you to discuss his or her personal health information with his/her lawyer prior to trial, then you can only discuss the case in general terms with the patient’s lawyer and you are not at liberty to share personal or health information with the lawyer.

Can I discuss the case and the care I provided to the patient with the other side’s lawyer before the trial begins?

  • If you are presented with a written Consent or Authorization from the patient allowing you to discuss his or her personal health information with the other side’s lawyer prior to trial, then it is fine for you to discuss personal and health information with the other side’s lawyer prior to trial.
  • If you are not presented with a written Consent or Authorization from the patient allowing you to discuss his or her personal health information with the other side’s lawyer prior to trial, then you can only discuss the case in general terms with the other side’s lawyer and you are not at liberty to share personal or health information with the lawyer.