The confidentiality - The ethical principle that a doctor does not disclose any information given in confidence by a patient.

The patient’s consent is necessary before a doctor supplies confidential information to an insurance company, an employer, or a lawyer. Doctors must, however, disclose information about patients when required to do so by law, or when they are faced with injuries or disorders that indicate a serious crime.

Doctors are also required to notify health authorities about patients with specified infectious diseases. Treatment of young children is usually discussed with the parents, but an older child’s request for confidentiality is generally respected if the doctor feels that he or she is competent enough to understand the issues involved.


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