Confidentiality and Huntington's chorea

Journal of Medical Ethics 16 (4):196-199 (1990)
A doctor has duties towards his patients of both confidentiality and veracity and at times these may conflict, as in the following case. A mother who has the symptoms of Huntington's chorea does not wish her daughters to know. The doctor must try to make her realise how valuable the information can be to the daughters, and thus obtain her consent to inform them. If the mother's consent cannot be obtained, then the doctor must tell the mother that he cannot allow her attitude to deprive the daughters of this information, especially at this crucial time as they plan to have children. The well-being of the daughters' future families must take precedence over the mother's desire for secrecy regarding her condition.
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DOI 10.1136/jme.16.4.196
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