• Legis Scriptor

Disclosure of Dreadful Diseases

Authored By- Sneha Saha

Keywords: privacy, confidential, laws, rights, HIV


This paper talks about how private, and confidential information of a patient should be kept within the doctor and any health care center. Any kind of disclosure of patient medical details or diseases to others is right or wrong, and where does the exception lay. Privacy violations within the tending sector that stem from policy and implementation gaps include the revelation of non-public health info to third parties while not consent, inadequate notification to a tolerant a knowledge breach, unlimited or redundant assortment of personal health information, provision of non-public health information to public health, research, and commercial uses while not an identification of knowledge and improper security standards. And what laws and rights an individual have if their privacy gets violated. Under which circumstances a person can expose someone's health details to others and under which grounds they are liable and where not.


Privacy, secrecy, and confidentiality are the aspects that are essential and required to be maintained in all trusting relationships as such as that between doctors and patients. In medical care and treatment, the protection of privacy and keeping patient health issues confidential is the basis of the doctor-patient relationship. The patient should feel free and comfortable sharing any bodily problem or private information regarding past and present medical history, sexual activities, and any bodily process or activity. Any information that which are been shared should remain confidential as it can be an intensive and sensitive issue which one is not ready to share with any third party.

Medical privacy involves informational privacy, for example, confidentiality, anonymity, secrecy, and data security; physical privacy like modesty and bodily integrity; associational privacy, for example, intimate sharing of illness; proprietary privacy like self-ownership and control over personal identifiers, genetic data, and decisional privacy where required choice in medical decision-making.

The revealing of non-public health data has the potential to be embarrassing, stigmatizing, or discriminatory. What is more, numerous merchandise like employment, life, and medical insurance, can be placed in danger if the flow of medical information weren't, restricted.

The importance of privacy and confidentiality in healthcare

The patient's information about his/her treatment should remain confidential until and unless one feels free to share. It is the right of every individual to keep one's data private as it is of vital importance and should be protected. Such a confidential and delicate issue of individuals should remain between the patient and the doctor, physician, or healthcare or health insurance company. And the medical data given by the patient to health care provider should not disclose to a third party unless and until the patient give the consent to divulge. Patient depends upon the doctor to keep the medical information private which is shared so the confidentiality of the patient should be maintained and violating those may create personal and professional problems. In many cases, it becomes difficult to keep information undisclosed and share the medical history with others relating and referring to their case studies. This leads to breach of confidentiality and if those information gets out publicly and causes problems then that patient has every right to sue. So, it is important to respect patient privacy and keep shared information private.

Ø Rights relating to privacy and confidentiality

Certain rights and privileges are there for the patient that they'll utilize whenever needed.

The following rights are :

· Right to Appropriate Medical Care and Humane Treatment,

· Right to information,

· The Right to Choose Health Care Provider and Facility,

· Right to Medical Records,

· Right to Privacy and Confidentiality etc.

So, the right to privacy and confidentiality one of the corrects given to the patient wherever the patient has the right to be free from the transmission. But square measure subject to sure exceptions that are:-

· If the mental or soundness is in question and also the Court orders the patient to surrender himself to a physical and mental examination by an MD or;

· When the public health, and safety demands or;

· When the patient himself provides up his right in writing or;

It is disclosed to the oldsters or the trustee of the patient wherever the patient isn't of legal status or mentally incapacitated; and if the patient is of legal status, then, data, the knowledge is disclosed along with his right to settle on the person to whom the medical information ought to be communicated.[i]

Legislation Regarding Privacy and Confidential Information of Patient

This part includes the study to examine the possibility of an approach that takes into consideration the effectiveness of legislation in performing and carrying out the practices obtain to every individual in the healthcare center. In the fiduciary relationship between doctors and patients, the two most important terms required are privacy and confidentiality. This fiduciary relationship emanates from an inexpensive expectation of mutual trust between the doctor and his patients and is established through the Indian Medical Council Act of 1952, specifically section 20(A) of the Act which lays down the code of ethics which a doctor must adhere to in the least times.[ii]

Depending on the Indian Medical Council (Professional Conduct, Etiquette, and Ethics) Regulations, 2002, it has been said according to

· chapter 7.14 that the registered medical man shall not disclose the secrets of a patient that is learned within the exercise of his / her profession except–

a. in a court of law under orders of the Presiding Judge;

b. in circumstances where there's a significant and identified risk to a selected person and/or community; and notifiable diseases.

c. In case of communicable/notifiable diseases, concerned public health authorities should be told immediately.

· Chapter 8.2 it is made clear that any complaint concerning professional misconduct is often brought before the acceptable Medical Council for Disciplinary action. Upon receipt of any complaint of professional misconduct, the acceptable Medical Council would hold a search and provides an opportunity for the registered medical man to be heard face to face or by a pleader. If the medical man is found to be guilty of committing professional misconduct, the acceptable Medical Council may award such punishment as deemed necessary or may direct the removal altogether or for a specified period, from the register of the name of the delinquent registered practitioner. Deletion from the Register shall be widely publicized in the local press also as within the publications of various Medical Associations/ Societies/Bodies.

· Chapter 8.5 During the pendency of the complaint the acceptable Council may restrain the physician from performing the procedure or practice which is under scrutiny.[iii]

Judicial Interventions and Case Laws

Under medical privacy, the jurisprudence has been evolved primarily like several privacy laws through the judicial pronouncements given in many circumstances. Several laws are created that do not solely apply for rights of privacy in the medical arena however additionally the rights of infected people, and additionally non-infected persons. And additionally, the laws applicable to the doctor, or any physicians disclose the patient health issue or any dreadful wellness to others and violate their privacy.

Case highlights :

Mr. 'X' vs Hospital, 'Z' SC/0733/1998

The Code of Medical Ethics additionally carves out associate degree exception to the rule of confidentiality and permits the revealing within the circumstances enumerated higher than underneath that public interest would override the duty of confidentiality, notably wherever there's an on the spot of future health risk to others. During this specific case the argument of the learned counsel for the appellant, therefore, that the respondents were underneath a requirement to take care of confidentiality on account of the Code of Medical Ethics developed by the Indian Medical Council can't be accepted because the planned wedding carried with it the health risk to associate degree peaceable one who had to be shielded from being infected with the disease from that the appellant suffered. The proper to confidentiality, if any, unconditional within the appellant wasn, 't enforceable within the gift state of affairs. Having a relation to the very fact that the appellant was found to be HIV(+), its revealing wouldn't be offending of either the rule of confidentiality or the appellant's Right of Privacy with whom the appellant was doubtless to be married was saved in time by such revealing, or else, she too would are infected with the dreadful disease if the wedding had taken place and completed. [iv]


Absolute privacy and confidentiality are also not possible for a doctor or healthcare center to keep it extremely secret. Like in cases of AIDS/HIV which are dangerous diseases and can spread so in this kind of particular disease it needs to be communicated and informed to the third party as it is for public betterment.

But privacy is to need to be maintained in other places as patients trust doctors while sharing their health issues, and it should be prevented from misuse. However, there area unit such a lot of gaps within the policies created or in-making, as a result of on one facet it provides the Right to privacy and on the opposite, it says that anyone will avail the data or ask for to access the records below the Right to Information Act, 2005.

So while making laws the state shall need a strong framework that needs to play an active role regarding privacy and confidentiality in healthcare. And this all should be applied in different sectors and institutions, like both in the private or public sector.

[i]Verma, A., 2020. Confidentiality And Privacy In Healthcare - Ipleaders. [online] iPleaders. Available at: <> [Accessed 3 September 2020].

[ii]Verma, A., 2020. Confidentiality And Privacy In Healthcare - Ipleaders. [online] iPleaders. Available at: <> [Accessed 3 September 2020].

[iii]2020. [online] Available at: < of Ethics Regulations, 2002l> [Accessed 3 September 2020].

[iv]Scholarticles. 2020. Case Analysis: Mr. X V. Hospital Z SC/0733/1998. [online] Available at: <> [Accessed 3 September 2020]. References-