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Contesting Medical ConfidentialityOrigins of the Debate in the United States, Britain, and Germany$
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Andreas-Holger Maehle

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780226404820

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: May 2017

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226404967.001.0001

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(p.1) Introduction
Contesting Medical Confidentiality

Andreas-Holger Maehle

University of Chicago Press

Starting with a disciplinary case of the New York Academy of Medicine against the surgeon J. Marion Sims in 1869/70, this introduction gives examples of typical problems with medical confidentiality. These arose from practitioners’ unauthorized disclosure of confidential patient information as well as from demands of state authorities for such information. The latter scenario is illustrated by German cases, including the notorious Memmingen abortion case of the late 1980s. The book’s three main themes-medical privilege in court, notification of venereal diseases and reporting of illegal abortions – are highlighted, and the scholarly literature on the history of medical confidentiality is briefly reviewed.

Keywords:   medical confidentiality, medical privilege, disclosure, New York Academy of Medicine, J. Marion Sims, Memmingen abortion case

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