Patients’ right to privacy and public interest

David A. Frenkel, David M. Wood

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


The relationship between public interest and privacy is complex, particularly in healthcare. If public interest overrides the right to privacy, medical staff may be forced to break confidentiality beyond what is permitted by law. Should politicians be excluded from the definition of “patients” when confidentiality is concerned? Should that “exclusion” be broadened to include judges and other public figures, for example, leaders of industry? Would it not be reasonable to entrust a medical team, who may assess their health state and inform the public of their assessment without divulging private medical data? Nothing will prevent any person from revealing their own medical state to the public; nonetheless, it should be at their discretion. Once a person dies, his right to privacy of health information should be with his heirs. Voyeurism should not be elevated to become a tool for legalising violations of health confidentiality.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)285-296
Number of pages12
JournalMedicine and Law
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2015


  • Confidentiality
  • Employment
  • Healthcare
  • Medical data
  • Privacy
  • Public health
  • Public interest


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