Doctors With AIDS and the "News of the World."
BMJ (British Medical Journal). 1987 Nov 21; 295(6609): 1339-1340.
A detailed account is given of a 1987 case in which a British newspaper was found in contempt of court for publishing an article based on confidential information about two doctors undergoing tretment for AIDS. The health authority treating the doctors had won an injunction restraining the newspaper from using any information from the doctors' medical records, based on the law of confidence which holds employees to a duty not to disclose confidential information acquired in the course of employment, unless it is in the public interest that it be disclosed. The court relied on testimony of medical experts that the risk to patients from general practitioners with AIDS could be reduced, by training and education, to nonexistence, and emphasized that confidentiality is of paramount importance to AIDS patients and therefore is in the public interest. (KIE abstract)
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