The Duty to Warn Revisited

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Editor's Note :

With developments in the field of genetics, new technologies such as genetic testing are fast emerging. Although offering unparalleled opportunities, these developments raise many ethical, legal and other issues. One challenge relates to the duty of confidentiality and disclosure obligations on doctors.

This article examines whether disclosure obligations on doctors should be expanded to encompass an obligation to disclose genetic risk to family members, and whether the exceptions to the duty of confidentiality should recognise genetic risk as potential harm.

With recognition of the competing rights, the article considers the implications of recent case law in the United Kingdom, indicating a willingness to extend the duty of disclosure. This article argues that there is a case to be made for expanding disclosure obligations on doctors in certain circumstances.

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Author: Aisling de Paor 1. Keywords: confidentiality ; ethics ; family members ; genetics ; genetic testing ; medical profession. Restricted Access. Add to Cart. Have an Access Token? Enter your access token to activate and access content online. Before you receive a Bar grievance or face a professional malpractice claim, have your personal and professional policies reviewed:.

Protect your assets with sufficient insurance, wills, trusts and estate plans.

The Duty to Warn Revisited eBook: Victoria Sutton: idekineqyxen.ga: Kindle Store

Consult a lawyer or other firm with a practice focused on asset protection for the professional. Before you take on a new client, make sure you know who that client really is. Meet them prior to undertaking representation, find out their motivation for hiring counsel, and listen closely to their responses.

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Watch for warning signs and red flags, like an improper purpose for hiring counsel, financial inability to retain legal counsel, or questionable business ethics. Trust your gut and act on your instincts. Avoiding bad clients is more than half of sustaining a successful practice. Send your client a copy of what you receive, and a copy of what you send out. When you do this for every communication, no commentary is necessarily required for the transmittal.

Confidentiality and its Exceptions

Timeliness is critical so your client can make informed decisions. You can always follow up with an explanation letter or phone call after the client has had to time review the communication.


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For important decisions that are based on a document sent to the client, follow up with a decision confirming letter or e-mail memorializing that decision. Always put it in writing, and never assume anything.

Preliminary Issue

This is especially important when beginning, rejecting, or ending client engagements. Clear engagement letters should define the beginning point, objectives, scope of work, payment terms, dispute resolution provisions, and the end point. And even if the client is a repeat business client, send a new matter engagement letter. Disengagement letters help determine the time when your duties to the client ended.