Intended for healthcare professionals


Duty of care versus patient confidentiality: High Court hears test case on Huntington’s disease

BMJ 2019; 367 doi: (Published 19 November 2019) Cite this as: BMJ 2019;367:l6600
  1. Clare Dyer
  1. The BMJ

The High Court in London is hearing a case that will clarify the duty of doctors to disclose confidential information about a patient’s hereditary disease to relatives.

A woman who learnt accidentally that her father had Huntington’s disease is suing three NHS trusts for not passing on the information. The claimant, referred to as ABC to protect her own daughter’s identity, learnt the truth when her daughter, now aged 9, was 4 months old. She claims that, had she known this earlier, she would have had an abortion.

She told the High Court, “I was utterly traumatised by the way I was …

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