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Publisher: Department of Social Sciences and Medical Humanities, University of Rijeka, School of Medicine
Journal: JAHR
Languages: English
Types: Article
Subjects: medical secret; confidentiality; history of medical ethics
Background. Until recent years medical secret was considered one of the most important applied practical concepts in European medical ethics/deontology, being only surpassed by informed consent in the last half of the century. Little is known about the way this concept evolved in continental Europe, as only a small number of scientific articles in this area are available in the literature written in English. The purpose of this article is to summarize the evolution and crystallization of this concept in France from which it spread to numerous countries in Continental Europe in the 19th century. Materials and methods. A bibliographic search of relevant books, articles, and documents regarding 19th century medical secret in France. Results. The crystallization of medical secret in France started early compared to other European countries; both legal and moral aspects regarding medical secret disseminated widely from France to other countries in Continental Europe, influencing significantly the way this concept was structured at a national level. Conclusions. Many famous cases or debates in the areas of medical ethics and deontology from the countries in Continental Europe are forgotten. However, knowing and discussing them in relation to modern bioethics concepts might help decrease the resistance to these newer concepts, and elaborate a more practical model for the morality of the medical act, which will also include regional particularities.
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