Legal duty to share genetic information? ABC v St George’s Healthcare NHS Trust
29th March 2017
Excerpt from blog:
Guest blog by Dr Vicky Chico, Legal Consultant, Society and Ethics Research Group, Wellcome Genome Campus, Cambridge
Yesterday myself and a colleague from the Society and Ethics Research Group sat in the Court of Appeal for ABC v St George’s Healthcare NHS Trust.
Almost two years ago Judge Nicol (‘Nicol J’), in the High Court, struck out a claim brought by a daughter of a male patient against his clinicians for their failure to warn her about her father’s Huntington’s disease. The daughter, who was pregnant at the time, argued that she should have been told of her father’s hereditary condition so she could be aware of her own risk and that of her unborn child. If she had been told she argues that she would have elected to have an abortion.
Nicol J felt that any extension of the duty of care to inform a patient’s relative of hereditary risks would be entirely novel and would amount to a ‘giant step’ which he was not willing to take. Was he right?