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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 134706 Add to Shopping cart Find in a Library
Title: Health Care in Jails: Inmates' Medical Records and Jail Inmates' Right to Refuse Medical Treatment
Author(s): W P Isele
Corporate Author: American Medical Assoc
Publishing Operation Division
United States of America
Date Published: Unknown
Page Count: 25
Sponsoring Agency: American Medical Assoc
Chicago, IL 60610
US Dept of Justice
Washington, DC 20531
Grant Number: 78ED-AX-0023
Type: Survey
Format: Document
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: While many legal and ethical concerns related to inmates' medical records are similar to issues applicable to medical records in general, others are unique to the confinement situation.
Abstract: The doctrine of confidentiality, which applies to the information exchanged between doctor and patient, is an ethical duty which has been cited in court as an expression of the physician's legal duty to his patients. In addition, 47 States have enacted statutes providing for a physician-patient privilege, in which the patient has the right to prevent his physician from testifying to confidential information in court. These principles apply equally to medical information within prisons because correctional officials have a duty to provide inmates with medical care. The first duty of a physician employed by a correctional institution is to his patients, not to his employer, although there are certain circumstances under which prison personnel should be given access to inmates' medical records. It is another well-established principle of law that any competent adult may refuse medical treatment; this includes inmates, except in situations where there exists an overriding interest of the State. In general, the courts have supported an inmate's right to refuse treatment; some exceptions include communicable disease, security concerns, self-inflicted injury, and emergencies. In the case of a juvenile offender, a physician may treat the patient with the consent of the corrections officer responsible for his care. 15 notes and 2 appendixes
Main Term(s): Inmate health care; Right to refuse treatment
Index Term(s): Confidential records access; Juvenile inmates; Medicolegal considerations
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