Ontario is considering introducing legislation that would require hospitals and physicians to report gunshot wounds and knife-related injuries. The legislation responds to a call by the Ontario Medical Association's Section on Emergency Medicine calling for mandatory reporting of gunshot wounds (although not of knife wounds).
A commentary by Pauls and Downie argues, however, that physicians will simply be seen as an extension of the police and that the negative effect on the patient-physician trust will result in vulnerable patients not disclosing underlying health issues for fear of being reported.
Writing on behalf of the OMA's Section on Emergency Medicine, Ovens points out that patient confidentiality is not an absolute right in Canada and exceptions exist to protect the public good. Regardless, argues Ovens, any victim's personal health information would remain confidential.
Source: Eurekalert & othersLast reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 21 Feb 2009
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