Confidentiality and the ethics of medical ethics

W. A. Rogers, H. Draper*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

20 Citations (Scopus)
25 Downloads (Pure)


In this paper we consider the use of cases in medical ethics research and teaching. To date, there has been little discussion about the consent or confidentiality requirements that ought to govern the use of cases in these areas. This is in marked contrast to the requirements for consent to publish cases in clinical journals, or to use personal information in research. There are a number of reasons why it might be difficult to obtain consent to use cases in ethics. Many cases concern people who are incompetent, and thus unable to give consent. Often the material is of a sensitive nature, it is not clear who should give consent, or the ethicist has no access to those involved. We argue that the use of cases in ethics research and teaching can be justified by appeal to the public interest argument, and suggest a number of areas for discussion and clarification.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)220-224
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Medical Ethics
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2003
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Copyright retained by the author(s). Article originally published in Journal of Medical Ethics, Vol. 29, Issue 4, pp.220-224. The original article can be found at Article archived for private and non-commercial use with the permission of the author and according to publisher conditions. For further information see

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