Posted by: andy | 2004/10/20

doctor client privilege

im 19 and im on my moms medical aid. i went to a specialist to test for allergies on tues (im not sure whether she is a doc or nurse or wot) she asked me if i had taken drugs and so i told her that i had smoked dagga (it seemed pointless to lie to her and i thought it was privileged). then she started to ask me about where i got it from and who got it for me... and other q's which seemed irrelevant. anyway, this lady told my doctor wot happened and he told my parents. who are now angry with me. was i right to expect our conversation to remain confidential? and if so what can i do about it?

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Our expert says:
Expert ImageTeen expert

Hi Andy,

so sorry for the delay in replying I have been checking your question out. At 19 you should be given confidentiality. The specialist is not necessarily at fault for giving the information to your doctor as your cannabis use may have had an influence on your medical condition. However your doctor should not have passed this information to your parents given your age. He has breached your confidentiality. If you wish to complain about this you can contact the Health Professions Council of South Africa who deal with complaints.

The address is:

The Registrar
Health Professions Council of South Africa
PO Box 205

You need to identify the doctor concerned by their surname, initials, practice address and if possible their practice number. You will need to explain what happened and what your complaint is. The HPCSA will then let you know if you have a case. Your doctor may have been concerned about you and this may be his reason for informing your parents, but this does not mean he was right to do so.

Hope this is helpful.

The information provided does not constitute a diagnosis of your condition. You should consult a medical practitioner or other appropriate health care professional for a physical exmanication, diagnosis and formal advice. Health24 and the expert accept no responsibility or liability for any damage or personal harm you may suffer resulting from making use of this content.

Our users say:
Posted by: Cory | 2004/10/21

It was absolutely unforgiveable for your doctor to break your confidence to your parents. He had every right to counsel you not to continue with drugs - but not to tell tales without your permission.

Reply to Cory

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