What Is the Morality Behind Patient Confidentiality? Essay

1531 Words Dec 23rd, 2012 7 Pages
What is The Morality behind Patient Confidentiality?

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What is The Morality behind Patient Confidentiality?

Introduction

Patient confidentiality is one of the pillars of modern medical profession. It implies that the medical practitioner is under the obligation to keep his patient’s medical profile confidential. The main reason is to help the patient maintain his privacy. However, there have been numerous cases of breach of such confidentiality, which has raised varying ethical implications. Further, there have been instances where the medical practitioner has felt that he needs to divulge such private information to a 3rd party. Often, this results in
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The law also defines the conditions under which such confidentiality applies. Firstly, for Hippocratic laws to take place, there has to be an established doctor-patient relationship. This implies that the patient must have at one point sought professional help from the doctor. Indeed, the doctor can always invoke the doctor-patient privilege where any agency asks him to divulge information concerning his patient. Secondly, the confidential information only applies to the information the doctor gained by virtue of his examination of or communication with the patient (Bourke & Wessely, 1996). According to the law, such confidentiality remains even after the termination of the doctor-patient relationship. However, the patient retains the power to waive such a privilege when and if he wants. This is possible by writing consent to the concerned doctor. Additionally, in cases where the patient files for medical injury, he waives the doctor-patient privilege allowing the doctor to divulge the information necessary to determine the case. There are other implicit ways in which the patient can waive such privilege. For instance, a patient who takes another person in his consultation with a doctor is deemed to have waived his privilege. In the US, these laws lack harmonization and vary across the various states. In such cases, divulging the patient’s information does not lead to breach of such confidentiality.
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