The emergency physician and patient confidentiality: A review

Gregory L. Larkin, John Moskop, Arthur Sanders, Arthur Derse

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

37 Scopus citations


Confidentiality is a promise rooted in tradition, law andmedical ethics. Emergency physicians treat a variety of patients to whom confidentiality is of vital importance: employees, celebrities, victims of violence or disaster, minors, students, criminals, drug abusers, and patients with STDs. EDs should develop methods of ensuring confidentiality for all patients.34. Although confidentiality is an important principle thatshould be respected and guarded, it is not absolute. Various laws mandate disclosure of certain patient information; in addition, an overriding moral duty may occasionally require, a breach of confidentiality. As Beauchamp and Childress noted, "the therapeutic role may sometimes have to yield to ones role as citizen and as protector of the interests of others".19 In general, however, circumstances requiring a breach of confidentiality are rare.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1161-1167
Number of pages7
JournalAnnals of emergency medicine
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 1994

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Emergency Medicine


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