DISCLOSURE BY A PHYSICIAN OF AIDS-RELATED PATIENT INFORMATION: AN ETHICAL AND LEGAL DILEMMA

Authors

  • DONALD G CASSWELL

Abstract

The Canadian Medical Association has advised physicians that, in certain circumstances, it may not be unethical for them, without the patient's consent, to disclose to the patient's spouse or current sexual partner AIDS-related information concerning the patient. The legal position of a physician considering making such disclosure is somewhat uncertain: the physician clearly owes a duty of confidence to his or her patient but is there an overriding duty to warn a third party at risk of infection? No completely satisfactory resolution is possible. However, this article submits that, in the absence of legislation authorizing or requiring such disclosure, policy considerations compel the conclusion that such disclosure is illegal.

Keywords:

AIDS, Medico-Legal

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Published

1989-06-01

Issue

Section

Legal Commentary

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