<- Home <- Arhive <- Vol. 27, Issue 2, June 2019

Rom J Leg Med27(2)172-175(2019)
© Romanian Society of Legal Medicine

Minors’ rights to confidentiality: ethical scenarios in medical practice in Romania

M. Aluaş, T. L. Pop, B. Ioan

Abstract: Confidentiality is one of the core duties of medical practice. It requires that a physician keeps a patient’s personal information private unless the patient consents to release it. Patients under 18 years old are considered incompetent because of their age. They cannot make medical decisions without parents’ or legal representative consent. However, in some cases obtaining the Informed Consent from the parents might conflict with the legal obligations of Confidentiality towards the patient. Respecting the minor right to Confidentiality, could be in conflict with the parents’ interests. Medical issues stemming from familial disputes or behaviors, such as a divorce or alcohol/drugs consumption, are example of the reasons why minors could be protected, even against parents’ wishes. If their confidentiality is not protected, the trust in their physician would be tarnished and the professional relationship compromised, which would greatly affect the physician’s credibility in front of the patient. By creating a safe environment for the patient’s privacy, the physician encourages them to seek medical care and to be truthful during health check-ups. The paper is focusing on ethical and legal implications originating from the antagonism between the informed consent and the minor patient’s right to confidentiality. Our aim is to: 1) try to identify the legal norms in force in Romania that regulate medical confidentiality; 2) delineate legal derogations on confidentiality; 3) present examples of conflicting interests of the minors and parents.
Keywords: confidentiality, informed consent, minors’ rights, derogation of confidentiality, ethical issues

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