alexa Between a Rock and a Hard Place: When Patient Confident
ISSN: 2155-9627

Journal of Clinical Research & Bioethics
Open Access

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Case Report

Between a Rock and a Hard Place: When Patient Confidentiality conflicts with a Physicians Duty to Warn

Nida Khan*

Sindh Secretariat, Planning and Development department, Pakistan

*Corresponding Author:
Nida Khan
Provincial Coordinator
Sindh Secretariat Planning and Development Department, Pakistan
[email protected]

Received date: October 28, 2015 Accepted date: January 08, 2016 Published date: January 11, 2016

Citation: Khan N (2016) Between a Rock and a Hard Place: When Patient Confidentiality conflicts with a Physician’s Duty to Warn. J Clin Res Bioeth 7:255. doi: 10.4172/2155-9627.1000255

Copyright: © 2015 Khan N. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited



Patient A is a young gentleman who is married and has recently been found to be HIV positive. The patient confides in his primary care physician and informs him that he has had several sexual partners before his marriage. He understands that this disease is life threatening if treatment is not begun. He claims that he is very happy in his marriage and that he and his wife are now expecting their first child. He does not want his HIV status to be disclosed to his wife because it will jeopardize his married life. He also says that if his wife is informed without his consent he will stop taking treatment. The physician is able to persuade A into starting his treatment. After several counseling sessions however, his physician is unable to persuade him into disclosing this to his wife. The physician tells him that his wife’s HIV status should be determined so that she also begins treatment. The physician is also concerned about the impending arrival of the baby, and the need to administer prophylaxis to the mother in order to prevent HIV transmission to the baby. What does a physician do in such a situation?


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