Virtual Conference

Sarka Specianova

Charles University , Czech Republic

Title: Confidentiality obligation of health care professionals and the breach of mandatory confidentiality


Healthcare professionals have a far-reaching and broadly formulated obligation of confidentiality, which is based on ethical rules and is reflected in legal regulations. This obligation applies to all information learned by doctors and other professionals in connection with the provision of health care. However, for day-to-day practice, it is essential to specifically define the situations and circumstances in which such confidentiality obligation does not apply and the information may be disclosed. Breaking confidentiality is primarily possible with the consent of the patient or his/her representative. In certain situations, disclosures are permitted or even required by law, are mandated by the courts or other authorities in the course of legal proceedings, or may be allowed in the public interest are also defined. These situations will be presented with specific examples and will be demonstrated by references to specific court decisions. Court decisions reflect not only the legal regulations but also ethical principles. The presentation will be aimed to provide a broader context without dwelling on legal minutia and allow the audience to compare the practical examples and cases with their own experience from their countries of origin.  


Sarka Specianova specializes in medical law and social-legal protection of children. She combines academic activities as a teaching assistant at the Institute of Public Health and Medical Law of the 1st Faculty of Medicine of Charles University in Prague with practical application of law as lawyer at a University hospital in the clinical research department. She is a member of the Ethics Committee of the General University Hospital in Prague. She lectures in courses and workshops for physicians, social workers, and public guardians who represent persons with limited autonomy, as well as for applicants for adoption and foster care.
She contributed to the reference book Neurodegenerative Diseases, where she authored several chapters devoted to the legal context of neurodegenerative diseases with a focus on the care of these patients (informed consent, communication of the diagnosis, previously expressed wishes, ability to drive motor vehicles and clinical trials in patients with limited autonomy).
She is a member of the Society for Social Paediatrics and the Czech Microbiome Society of the Czech Medical Association.
In the area of social and legal protection of children, she focuses on substitute family care and legal protection of abused and neglected children. She is the co-author of Recommendations for Practice – An Abused and Neglected Child in a General Practitioner's Surgery for Children and Adolescents and Recommendations for the Use of Imaging Methods when a Child is suspected of Being Abused. She worked on helplines for children.