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When Information Can Save Lives: The Duty to Warn Relatives about Sudden Cardiac Death and Environmental Risks

From: Hastings Center Report
Volume 40, Number 3, May-June 2010
pp. 39-45 | 10.1353/hcr.0.0254

Abstract

Abstract:

In certain cases of sudden death, forensic experts may discover that family members of the deceased are at risk of harm. Do they have a duty to warn them?

In certain cases of sudden death, forensic experts may discover during an investigation or autopsy that family members of the deceased are also at risk of harm—from genetic disease, for instance. But do they have a duty to warn them? Looking at similar duties of physicians and researchers to warn third parties of risk suggests they do.