If I have a disease-causing gene, should my doctor tell my family?

Genetic testing is undermining medical norms as people sue their doctors for either telling them or not telling them a relative’s diagnosis, says Laura Spinney Health | Comment 28 August 2019 By LAURA SPINNEY Josie FordONCE upon a time, a doctor’s consulting room was as safe as a confessional. You could say what you liked…

Genetic testing is undermining medical norms as people sue their doctors for either telling them or not telling them a relative’s diagnosis, says Laura Spinney



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28 August 2019

By LAURA SPINNEY

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Josie Ford

ONCE upon a time, a doctor’s consulting room was as safe as a confessional. You could say what you liked confident that, barring very exceptional circumstances, it would go no further. No more. Two legal cases, one in Germany and one still ongoing in the UK, show how the limits of patient confidentiality are being tested, and how this challenges long-established medical norms.

At issue is how to define a patient in an era of genetic testing. If a test shows that I carry a disease-causing gene, that may be relevant to other members of my family. …

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