Conflicting Duties Over Confidentiality in Argentina and Peru
International journal of gynaecology and obstetrics: the official organ of the International Federation of Gynaecology and Obstetrics 2011 Feb; 112(2): 159-62
The medical duty of confidentiality represents a key element for the provision of reproductive and sexual health services. In some Latin American countries, such as Argentina and Peru, the legal systems impose or are interpreted as imposing on health professionals the duty of confidentiality, but also the duty to report the commission of a public order offense that they know about owing to the practicing of their profession. In these countries, the conflicting duties and the criminalization of abortion cause severe public health and human rights problems when health professionals assist their patients for post-abortion treatment. Typically, patients are deterred from seeking prompt medical care, and their privacy, autonomy, and dignity are violated. A 2010 ruling from the Supreme Court of Argentina and a 2004 ruling from the Inter-American Court of Human Rights emerge as important instruments that grant a more adequate protection of medical confidentiality.
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