Confidentiality: Medico-legal Aspects
Keywords: Confidentiality, Physician- Patient Relationship, Human Rights
AbstractThe rules of conduct of the SA Medical and Dental Council together with decisions of South African law courts, make it clear that both ethically and legally medical practitioner is required to keep the confidence of his patient. South African practitioners, like their overseas counterparts, are confronted with a legal position in which, unlike the lawyer/client relationship, there is no absolute privileged for communication between physician and patient. The paper explores the definition of the limited privilege rule and arguments for an amendment thereof. It also examines the question of the moral and legal obligation of the practitioner to make disclosures to a third party or agency. In this connection the paper considers the problem of the duty to disclose illnesses such as AIDS to persons other than those whom the patient has granted consent. In a more indigenous context, the paper examines the controversy relating to the behaviour of doctors who, during the unrest of 1985 and 1986, co-operated with the police in pointing out patients who had suffered certain injuries resulting in patients being arrested and taken to the police cells.
By submitting manuscripts to SAFP, authors of original articles are assigning copyright to the South African Academy of Family Physicians. Copyright of review articles are assigned to the Publisher, Medpharm Publications (Pty) Ltd, unless otherwise specified. Authors may use their own work after publication without written permission, provided they acknowledge the original source. Individuals and academic institutions may freely copy and distribute articles published in SAFP for educational and research purposes without obtaining permission.