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Full text of "Medical Jurisprudence And Toxicology"

DUTIES OF A PHYSICIAN

411

if he finds that a particular engine driver is colour blind and that he does
not wish to change his employment although he is persuaded to do so. In
such cases the communication, if made bom fide and without malice, will
"be deemed to be privileged by the occasion. A privileged communication
is, therefore, defined as a statement made by^a person who has an interest to
protect, or a legal, social ^"or moral duty to perform to another having a


	
	

conditions, amount to defamation or si
	lander.
	

A case 9 occurred at a Turkish "bath at Debretzine where a venereal diseases specialist
recognized in a young man who was about to enter the water one of his own patients
who had consulted him two weeks ago for a syphilitic sore on the penis. He went up
to the young man, and whispered to him not to enter the bath on account of his chancre,
but the young man persisted in entering the bath; hence the specialist sent for the
manager and explained the matter to him. The latter asked the man to leave at once.
He left the bath, and sued the specialist for trespassing the medical secrecy laws, but
lost his case, the court decreeing that the specialist only carried out his professional
duty, and acted in the interests of the community.

7. To advice consultation with another medical practitioner, preferably
a specialist or a medical practitioner of a high professional standing in the
following circumstances : 

(a)  When his case is obscure and difficult or has taken a serious turn;

(b)   When an operation or special treatment involving danger to life is
to be undertaken;

(c)   When an operation affecting vitally the intellectual or generative
functions is to be performed on a patient;

(d)   When  an   operation  is  to  be  performed  on  a  patient who  has
received serious injuries in a criminal assault;

(e)  When an operation of a mutilating or destructive nature is to be
performed on an unborn child;

(f)  When a therapeutic abortion is to be procured to save a pregnant

woman from death or permanent ill-health;

(g)  When a woman on whom an illegal operation for procuring abortion
has already been performed has sought his advice for treatment;

(Ii)  When it is suspected that his patient is suffering from symptoms of
poisoning, especially criminal.

It is also necessary that an attending physician should not avoid or
refuse consultation, when his patient or his relatives and friends desire it.
Refusal for such a consultation may lead the patient or his relatives and
friends to conclude that the doctor is afraid of criticism of his diagnosis or
treatment.

In regard to the choice of a consultant it is generally expedient to follow
the wish of his patient or his relatives and friends, although the attending
physician is justified in giving his opinion that the suggested consultant is
not the proper person for the particular case if he sincerely believes so. The
consultant should never treat the attending physician as his inferior, for all
qualified medical practitioners are considered equal in consultation. The
consultant should also exercise the utmost care to avoid disturbing the con-
fidence of the patient in the attending practitioner, and should not try to
supersede the practitioner through whom he has received an introduction to
the patient.

It is wrong and illegal for a medical practitioner to accept a commission
for the introduction of a patient to a consultant. Such a practice is known

9.   Lancet, April 16, 1921, p. 822.