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Medical Disclosure and Infectious Diseases

Issues to do with disclosure may have a far-reaching effect when it comes to a person’s health. Disclosure of medical information about a person that has an infectious disease may depend on the specific incident, the type of disease and if exposure requires quarantine or other measures to restrict the spread of the infection. This article will discuss disclosure issues for the patient and the doctor when it comes to infectious diseases.

At the height of the COVID-19 pandemic it may seem unrealistic for people to keep silent about being infected. Whether one speaks up or not, individuals infected by the COVID-19 virus are kept in quarantine until they recover. Therefore, disclosure may not be an issue.  The question then posed is whether or not it is necessary to disclose when it comes to other infectious disease.

One of the complications associated with disclosing information about an infectious disease is that of the patient confidentiality clause that exists with a doctor. If the patient suffers from a contagious and infectious illness, the doctor usually must keep their confidence in the matter or face legal issues later. The problem usually arises with other patients in the immediate area catching the disease. Some states may impose laws that require medical professionals and staff members to explain the matter to anyone that could face immediate exposure.

If the patient has the option to tell others, they may limit who knows about the illness or disease. As a result, this would limit or restrict a doctor from telling another patient in the vicinity of the other party. However, the medical facility would take as many precautions as necessary in order to curb the spreading of the disease to other parties. This is done through medical standards so as to avoid patient to patient infections. Medical personnel are also equipped so as not to contaminate or infect others in the office or facility by using appropriate person protective equipment such as single-use gloves, equipment and tools that have disposable parts and monitoring for cases of contamination and infection of others. There are additional measures that are also put into place when a person has an infectious disease.

When a patient has an infectious disease that requires certain types of contact, such as blood-to-blood exchange, the doctor may have little to no obligation of informing anyone else about the individual’s condition. Generally, the disclosure of the disease requires an immediate health concern that could cause further injury or illness due to proximity or contact with the disease that results in transmission. However, hospital and healthcare staff are required to follow the Freedom of Information Legislation rules and the privacy legislation guidelines. These regulations apply to both private hospitals or doctor’s office visits and to the public contact.

In instances where there is no immediate health concern, the doctor or medical staff have no obligation to inform anyone of the infectious disease according to the regulations in the place. Unless consent is given the information is private. However, there are exceptions that exist in law enforcement and court orders.

If there has been a breach in the duty of care and your confidentiality contact the best attorneys in Wasilla Alaska.

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