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Medical and legal professionals' attitudes towards confidentiality and disclosure of clinical information in forensic settings: a survey using case vignettes

Bruggen, M. C. and Eytan, A. and Gravier, B. and Elger, B. S.. (2013) Medical and legal professionals' attitudes towards confidentiality and disclosure of clinical information in forensic settings: a survey using case vignettes. Medicine, science and the law, Vol. 53, H. 3. pp. 132-148.

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Official URL: http://edoc.unibas.ch/dok/A6070468

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Abstract

ObjectiveWhen potentially dangerous patients reveal criminal fantasies to their therapists, the latter must decide whether this information has to be transmitted to a third person in order to protect potential victims. We were interested in how medical and legal professionals handle such situations in the context of prison medicine and forensic evaluations. We aimed to explore the motives behind their actions and to compare these professional groups.MethodA mail survey was conducted among medical and legal professionals using five fictitious case vignettes. For each vignette, participants were asked to answer questions exploring what the professional should do in the situation and to explain their justification for the chosen response.ResultsA total of 147 questionnaires were analysed. Agreement between participants varied from one scenario to another. Overall, legal professionals tended to disclose information to a third party more easily than medical professionals, the latter tending to privilege confidentiality and patient autonomy over security. Perception of potential danger in a given situation was not consistently associated with actions.ConclusionProfessionals' opinions and attitudes regarding the confidentiality of potentially dangerous patients differ widely and appear to be subjectively determined. Shared discussions about clinical situations could enhance knowledge and competencies and reduce differences between professional groups.
Faculties and Departments:08 Cross-disciplinary Subjects > Ethik > Institut für Bio- und Medizinethik > Bio- und Medizinethik (Elger)
03 Faculty of Medicine > Departement Public Health > Ethik in der Medizin > Bio- und Medizinethik (Elger)
Item Type:Article, refereed
Bibsysno:Link to catalogue
ISSN:0025-8024
Note:Publication type according to Uni Basel Research Database: Journal article
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Last Modified:25 Oct 2013 08:33
Deposited On:25 Oct 2013 08:33

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