Deathbed Confession: When a Dying Patient Confesses to Murder: Clinical, Ethical, and Legal Implications
Laura Tincknell, Anne O’Callaghan, Joanna Manning, and Phillipa Malpas, The Journal of Clinical Ethics 29, no. 3 (Fall 2018): 179-84.
During an initial palliative care assessment, a dying man discloses that he had killed several people whilst a young man. The junior doctor, to whom he revealed his story, consulted with senior palliative care colleagues. It was agreed that legal advice would be sought on the issue of breaching the man’s confidentiality. Two legal opinions conflicted with each other. A decision was made by the clinical team not to inform the police.
In this article the junior doctor, the palliative medicine specialist, a medical ethicist, and a lawyer consider the case from their various perspectives.
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