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Professor Emily Jackson on Huntington's Disease case

19 November 2019


Professor Emily Jackson has recently been quoted in the press regarding the case of a mother suing St. George's NHS trust after doctors failed to reveal her father had Huntington's disease. The woman alleges that St George's NHS Trust, London, owed her a duty of care to tell her of her father's genetic condition, given that doctors there knew that she herself was pregnant. Professor Jackson commented:

"If a patient doesn't want her doctor to tell her children about her terminal diagnosis, for example, or her HIV status, then it goes without saying that the doctor should respect the patient's confidence.

"The complicating factor with a genetic diagnosis is that it isn't just information about the individual patient, but it also reveals that his or her relatives are at risk. In such circumstances, and where the relative could act upon that information, should the doctor's duty be extended to the patient's close family members?"

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