Are doctors obligated to reveal convictions?

| 13/02/2017

I’ve been wondering if there is a law or regulation that requires medical professionals (especially doctors in private practice) to disclose to patients if they have a pending lawsuit or past convictions?

Auntie’s answer: There is a code of conduct for which medical professionals are supposed to adhere and four relevant councils in Cayman that set standards of practice for their respective disciplines – Medical and Dental Council (MDC), Nursing and Midwifery Council, Pharmacy Council and the Council for Professions Allied with Medicine.

The MDC publishes its own “Code of Ethics & Standards of Professional Practice”. I sought advice from the Department of Health Regulatory Services on how this applies to your question.

I found specific parts in the code, such as Sections 34 and 35, which refer to the duty of a practitioner to inform the appropriate body of a colleague’s possible misconduct and the MDC’s determination of the seriousness of the alleged breach.

However, there is nothing in the document that refers exactly to whether a doctor needs to tell a patient of any lawsuits or convictions. To this point, the Health Regulatory Services official explained that the code cannot cover every scenario but professionals are expected “to operate at a high ethical standard”.

From what I understand, despite the example you offer not being found in the code, a medical professional would be ethically bound to disclose information on lawsuits and convictions.

Having said that, I recommend you contact the MDC directly in the hopes of getting a more definitive answer. Here is a link to a list of council members, whose terms run through 15 September 2017.

The document mentioned in this column can be found on the CNS Library

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Category: Ask Auntie, Medical Questions

Comments (2)

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  1. Victor Look Loy says:

    I fail to see what any pending lawsuit or even a conviction has to do with the doctors practice if his license was not revoked by the licensing authority for that offense. Are you suggesting that Doctors put up a sign in his waiting room listing any previous convictions and any pending lawsuits or even all wild accusations by members of the public or psychotic colleagues.

  2. Anonymous says:

    in the USA a Physicians must have a license to practice medicine in all states. Each state regulates medicine individually, though, and the offenses for which a physician can lose his license may vary from one state to another.

    States consider medical conviction Vs. criminal conviction.

    There are two categories of criminal offense that needs to be considered:

    Crimes related to practice of medicine, such as fraudulently acting as a physician when one is not licensed, prescribing narcotics unnecessarily, or physical contact of a sexual nature with a patient.
    Crimes that aren’t directly related to the practice of medicine but to patterns of behavior that suggest a “moral unfitness to practice medicine.” Repeat DUI, domestic abuse, theft. But even crimes such as tax evasion have prevented physicians from getting licenses.
    Repeat offense and mitigating circumstances are also taken into account. There is a huge loophole in the patient protection shield–of 70 licensing boards, only 46 boards in 36 states can conduct a criminal background check as a condition of licensure in the first place.