Confidentiality Laws

  • Mihaela-Catalina Vicol


Privacy refers to the fundamental rights of nonintrusion, the freedom to act in personal matters, and the protection of personal information. All of these are protected by the Fourth Amendment of the United States Constitution. The concept of confidentiality, as part of privacy, plays important roles in medicine by promoting respect for patients’ privacy and intimacy and encouraging patients’ honesty in revealing information to physicians. According to Vaughn, additional arguments reinforce the need for such a trust bond: the harm that the disclosed information may bring about for patients, such as discrimination, stigma, and shame, and the consequences to the doctor–patient relationship, such as a rupture in trust, patient nondisclosure of information, and inability of physicians to fulfill their obligation of beneficence.

Suggested Reading

  1. Dickson, D. T. (2001). HIV, AIDS, and the law: Legal issues for social work practice and policy. New York, NY: Walter de Gruyter Inc.Google Scholar
  2. Gert, B., Culver, C. M., & Clouser, K. D. (1997). Bioethics: A return to fundamentals. New York, NY: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  3. UNESCO. (2011). Casebook on benefit and harm: Bioethics core curriculum casebook [Series No. 2]. Paris: UNESCO.Google Scholar
  4. Vaughn, L. (2010). Bioethics: Principles, issues and cases. New York, NY: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar

Suggested Resources

  1. United States Department of Health and Human Services.

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of BioethicsUniversity of Medicine and Pharmacy “Gr. T. Popa”IasiRomania

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