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Familial genetic risks: how can we better navigate patient confidentiality and appropriate risk disclosure to relatives?

Familial genetic risks: how can we better navigate patient confidentiality and appropriate risk disclosure to relatives?
Familial genetic risks: how can we better navigate patient confidentiality and appropriate risk disclosure to relatives?
This article investigates a high-profile and ongoing dilemma for healthcare professionals (HCPs), namely whether the existence of a (legal) duty of care to genetic relatives of a patient is a help or a hindrance in deciding what to do in cases where a patient's genetic information may have relevance to the health of the patient's family members. The English case ABC v St George's Healthcare NHS Trust and others considered if a duty of confidentiality owed to the patient and a putative duty of care to the patient's close relatives could coexist in this context. This article examines whether embracing the concept of coexisting duties could enable HCPs to respect duties in line with their clinical judgement, thereby providing legal support and clarity to professionals to allow them to provide the best possible genetics service to both the patient and their family. We argue that these dual duties, framed as a novel, composite duty to consider the interests of genetic relatives, could allow HCPs to exercise and act on their professional judgements about the relative value of information to family members, without fears of liability for negligence or breach of confidence.
1473-4257
504-507
Dove, Edward
c1d5a986-e14c-4c31-88a5-5ac48498c3c0
Chico, Vicky
c42bdc74-b294-4669-ba30-b8ba260ef4cd
Fay, Michael
59869578-2b61-482c-b3db-f228bc3c7637
Laurie, Graeme
e03d531c-5590-49e5-969b-13ea804dba0d
Lucassen, Anneke
2eb85efc-c6e8-4c3f-b963-0290f6c038a5
Postan, Emily
91710ecc-99e9-49b3-8683-dd0b50e2bf78
Dove, Edward
c1d5a986-e14c-4c31-88a5-5ac48498c3c0
Chico, Vicky
c42bdc74-b294-4669-ba30-b8ba260ef4cd
Fay, Michael
59869578-2b61-482c-b3db-f228bc3c7637
Laurie, Graeme
e03d531c-5590-49e5-969b-13ea804dba0d
Lucassen, Anneke
2eb85efc-c6e8-4c3f-b963-0290f6c038a5
Postan, Emily
91710ecc-99e9-49b3-8683-dd0b50e2bf78

Dove, Edward, Chico, Vicky, Fay, Michael, Laurie, Graeme, Lucassen, Anneke and Postan, Emily (2019) Familial genetic risks: how can we better navigate patient confidentiality and appropriate risk disclosure to relatives? Journal of Medical Ethics, 45, 504-507. (doi:10.1136/medethics-2018-105229).

Record type: Article

Abstract

This article investigates a high-profile and ongoing dilemma for healthcare professionals (HCPs), namely whether the existence of a (legal) duty of care to genetic relatives of a patient is a help or a hindrance in deciding what to do in cases where a patient's genetic information may have relevance to the health of the patient's family members. The English case ABC v St George's Healthcare NHS Trust and others considered if a duty of confidentiality owed to the patient and a putative duty of care to the patient's close relatives could coexist in this context. This article examines whether embracing the concept of coexisting duties could enable HCPs to respect duties in line with their clinical judgement, thereby providing legal support and clarity to professionals to allow them to provide the best possible genetics service to both the patient and their family. We argue that these dual duties, framed as a novel, composite duty to consider the interests of genetic relatives, could allow HCPs to exercise and act on their professional judgements about the relative value of information to family members, without fears of liability for negligence or breach of confidence.

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More information

Accepted/In Press date: 12 March 2019
e-pub ahead of print date: 23 May 2019
Published date: 27 August 2019

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 433659
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/433659
ISSN: 1473-4257
PURE UUID: a530acaf-b6d3-493e-b41d-260d144811a7
ORCID for Anneke Lucassen: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0003-3324-4338

Catalogue record

Date deposited: 29 Aug 2019 16:30
Last modified: 26 Nov 2021 02:45

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Contributors

Author: Edward Dove
Author: Vicky Chico
Author: Michael Fay
Author: Graeme Laurie
Author: Anneke Lucassen ORCID iD
Author: Emily Postan

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