A new model of patient privacy?BMJ 2004; 328 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.328.7450.1265 (Published 20 May 2004) Cite this as: BMJ 2004;328:1265
- Clare Dyer, legal correspondent
In January 1990 the television actor Gorden Kaye, star of 'Allo 'Allo, was driving in a gale when a piece of wood smashed through his windscreen. He sustained severe head injuries, spending three days on a life support machine.
Kaye was just out of intensive care and lying heavily sedated in a private room when a reporter and photographer from the tabloid Sunday Sport sneaked in, ignoring a notice banning unauthorised visitors. The still-confused actor told the reporter about the incident and the photographer snapped pictures till nurses ejected the pair.
The actor's agent tried to stop the paper publishing the interview. But there was no right to privacy in English law and the courts found themselves powerless. The most they could do was insist that the paper make it clear that the story had been published without Kaye's consent.
Much judicial handwringing followed as commentators suggested that the judges should have been bolder and more inventive. Fast forward to 1998 and the enactment of the Human Rights Act, making the European …