Doctor must respect secrecy and cannot report patient for abortion, decides STJ

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The Superior Court of Justice (STJ) decided this Tuesday, 14, that doctors cannot denounce patients for clandestine abortions.

In Brazil, legal abortion is allowed only in exceptional cases, such as sexual violence and if the pregnancy poses a risk to the mother’s life, up to the 20th week of pregnancy.

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The ministers of the Sixth Class concluded that doctors need to respect professional secrecy.

Rapporteur of the case, Minister Sebastião Reis Júnior said that the doctor is a ‘necessary confidant’ and, therefore, is ‘forbidden to reveal secrets that he is aware of due to his intellectual profession, as well as to testify about the fact’.

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The unprecedented decision was taken in the analysis of a process in Minas Gerais.

The case took place in 2014. The woman was 16 weeks pregnant and would have taken an abortive medicine.

She had to be hospitalized and the doctor in charge reported the case to the Police. He shared the patient’s medical record, to prove the accusations, and served as a witness in the process.

The STJ suspended the criminal action against the woman because it considered that the evidence gathered in the process was illegal.

“The initiation of the police investigation resulted from provocation by the police authority on the part of the doctor himself, who, in addition to having been improperly listed as a witness, forwarded the patient’s medical record to prove the statements; the criminal action is contaminated by the elements of information collected illegally, being, therefore, null”, wrote the rapporteur.

Source: CNN Brasil

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