Professional privilege, driving and epilepsy, the doctor's responsibility.


Privacy and professional privilege between doctor and patient were reviewed at the 21st International Epilepsy Congress and at the First Academic Seminar of the Australian College of Legal Medicine (ACLM). A survey was conducted at the ACLM to review the attitudes of a group of doctors who were also trained within the law, regarding professional privilege in general and the responsibilities and liabilities of doctors when dealing with non-compliant patients who have uncontrolled epilepsy and continue to drive motor vehicles. Most responders (17/19) felt that there should be professional privilege between doctor and patient, although only one respondent felt that such privilege should be absolute. Fourteen out of 19 respondents felt that doctors had a duty to report those patients who posed a risk, with 4/19 denying such duty and one respondent being undecided. Inconsistencies emerged when all respondents felt that a doctor should report a non-compliant, dangerous patient, as presented within the scenario and 4/19 of respondents attributed legal liability to the doctor for loss of income by the family of the victim of a traffic accident, resultant from failure to disclose. The study concluded that it was safer for the doctor to report patients seen as posing a foreseeable risk, unless such reporting contravened legislative restriction as may exist in such jurisdictions as in France.

Cite this paper

@article{Beran1997ProfessionalPD, title={Professional privilege, driving and epilepsy, the doctor's responsibility.}, author={Roy G Beran}, journal={Epilepsy research}, year={1997}, volume={26 3}, pages={415-21} }