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February 16, 1907


JAMA. 1907;XLVIII(7):616. doi:10.1001/jama.1907.02520330058010

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An English physician was recently sued by a patient for a betrayal of professional confidence. The remarkable thing about the case was that the confidential information was not communicated to a third person, but to the physician himself. It appeared that the physician's chauffeur was taken ill and entered an infirmary, in which place he came under his employer's care. Examination revealed the fact that the man was suffering from aortic disease and was evidently unfit to have charge of an automobile. On the chauffeur's recovery (the physician having meantime betrayed the professional secret to his business self), he received two weeks' advance salary and was discharged. Thus arose the question whether the employer, coming into possession of confidential information in his professional capacity, might use that knowledge to determine his actions in a business capacity to the detriment of the employé. All right-minded men must admit that it was

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