0
We're unable to sign you in at this time. Please try again in a few minutes.
Retry
We were able to sign you in, but your subscription(s) could not be found. Please try again in a few minutes.
Retry
There may be a problem with your account. Please contact the AMA Service Center to resolve this issue.
Contact the AMA Service Center:
Telephone: 1 (800) 262-2350 or 1 (312) 670-7827  *   Email: subscriptions@jamanetwork.com
Error Message ......
Health Law and Ethics |

The "Duty to Warn" a Patient's Family Members About Hereditary Disease Risks

Kenneth Offit, MD, MPH; Elizabeth Groeger, BA; Sam Turner, JD; Eve A. Wadsworth, BA; Mary A. Weiser, RN, JD
JAMA. 2004;292(12):1469-1473. doi:10.1001/jama.292.12.1469.
Text Size: A A A
Published online

Genetic tests for adult-onset disorders, including common forms of cancer, are now commercially available, and tests for genetic polymorphisms that predict drug effects or toxicity after treatment are under development. For each of these circumstances, testing of 1 individual may imply an increased risk to his/her relative.

The obligation, if any, to warn family members of the identification of a genetic mutation has generated concerns regarding the conflict between the physician's ethical obligations to respect the privacy of genetic information vs the potential liabilities resulting from the physician's failure to notify at-risk relatives. A duty to warn relatives about risks due to some infectious agents has been assumed by state and local health agencies, and the duty to breach confidentiality to warn of imminent harm has been the subject of case law.

In general, the special nature of genetic tests has been viewed as a barrier to physicians' breaching the confidentiality of personal genetic information. However, the failure to warn family members about hereditary disease risks has already resulted in 3 lawsuits against physicians in the United States.

While the findings of case law and the state and federal statutes that bear on the issue of "duty to warn" of inherited health risk are still being defined, we believe that health care professionals have a responsibility to encourage but not to coerce the sharing of genetic information in families, while respecting the boundaries imposed by the law and by the ethical practice of medicine.

Sign in

Create a free personal account to sign up for alerts, share articles, and more.

Purchase Options

• Buy this article
• Subscribe to the journal

Figures

Tables

References

Letters

CME
Meets CME requirements for:
Browse CME for all U.S. States
Accreditation Information
The American Medical Association is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education to provide continuing medical education for physicians. The AMA designates this journal-based CME activity for a maximum of 1 AMA PRA Category 1 CreditTM per course. Physicians should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity. Physicians who complete the CME course and score at least 80% correct on the quiz are eligible for AMA PRA Category 1 CreditTM.
Note: You must get at least of the answers correct to pass this quiz.
You have not filled in all the answers to complete this quiz
The following questions were not answered:
Sorry, you have unsuccessfully completed this CME quiz with a score of
The following questions were not answered correctly:
Commitment to Change (optional):
Indicate what change(s) you will implement in your practice, if any, based on this CME course.
Your quiz results:
The filled radio buttons indicate your responses. The preferred responses are highlighted
For CME Course: A Proposed Model for Initial Assessment and Management of Acute Heart Failure Syndromes
Indicate what changes(s) you will implement in your practice, if any, based on this CME course.

Multimedia

Some tools below are only available to our subscribers or users with an online account.

Web of Science® Times Cited: 111

Sign in

Create a free personal account to sign up for alerts, share articles, and more.

Purchase Options

• Buy this article
• Subscribe to the journal

Related Content

Customize your page view by dragging & repositioning the boxes below.

Articles Related By Topic
Related Collections
PubMed Articles
Jobs
brightcove.createExperiences();