4 thoughts on “Legal duty to share genetic information goes to trial

  1. Thanks for the helpful summary, Vicky and Anna. I too was pleased to see that an opportunity has now arisen for this important question to be given further consideration.

    As I’ve mentioned on a previous post, Australia has regulations (provided for by statute) that provide health professionals with *permission*, but not *a duty* to disclose. The regulations are helpful and structured, but do not apply to all health professionals due to our federated privacy laws. Some legal academics also question whether they will leave a professional who *could* have disclosed but *did not* liable to an action like this one. Others have expressed concerns about individual privacy; arguing (mistakenly, in my view) that health professionals will go on genetic ‘fishing trips’ to find information to tell one’s family.

    Thankfully, these kinds of cases are rare. With support and time, most people who receive actionable genetic risk information are able to sensitively and appropriately share this with their biological relatives.

  2. This is a really interesting case. Although I work within health, it’s not an issue I had ever considered. I definitely think it’s an area that would benefit from more public debate. It’s seems quite odd to me that a case about the public interest, doesn’t include some sort of public engagement exercise. Thanks for the post, it made me think!

  3. Genetic information should most definitely be shared within a family and medical professionals should have the legal responsibility of notifying all blood relatives of a patient of the patients genetic information.

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