Duty of confidentiality, when does it apply and when does it not apply

Do you trust your doctor? Or do you have your doubts about confidentiality from time to time ?

Since ancient times, the duty of silence has served to protect the privacy of each person. A rose on the ceiling, was the symbol of secrecy at meetings. The Oath of Hippocrates contained a medical obligation to secrecy.

It is not only in the medical sector that there is a prohibition on divulging secret and personal data. For example, tax advisors, lawyers, notaries, consultants, insurance companies, pharmacists and public officials are also legally obliged to keep confidential information to themselves.

What must be kept secret and when?

The legislator protects the right of every individual to informational self-determination. This means that you can determine for yourself what your doctor is allowed to know and when.

When a treatment relationship is initiated, the physician and the associated staff are obligated to maintain confidentiality. Secret" data includes, for example, diagnoses, treatment processes, courses of illness, accident histories and measures. All information about a person must be kept secure.

This eliminates the danger of conversations or words spoken in critical situations being leaked to the outside world.

If you want to allow the doctor to pass on information to your family or partner, you must authorize him to do so beforehand. A so-called release from confidentiality makes this possible. In this release, you can specify exactly who is allowed to receive information about your state of health. This allows the doctor to talk about you, your health condition and treatments.

Nevertheless, there are exceptions!

However, there are exceptions here as well. Even if there is no authorization or consent for the disclosure of patient-related information, an authorization for disclosure to third parties may still be permissible. This is the case if there is an unavoidable risk to life, limb, freedom, honor, property or another legal asset.

The duty of disclosure

The duty of disclosure outweighs the duty of confidentiality. The legal obligations in this regard are derived from the Criminal Code. According to this, anyone who learns of the planned or imminent execution of the particularly serious or dangerous criminal offences listed therein and does not report the offence, even though it can still be averted, is guilty of failing to report the planned criminal offence.

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