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Emerg Med Australas. 2012 Dec;24(6):670-2. doi: 10.1111/1742-6723.12012.

Case for mandatory reporting of 'body packers'.

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  • 1Emergency and Trauma Centre, The Alfred Hospital, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia.


Body packing is the term used to describe the ingestion of illicit substances for transport across control lines. Where the diagnosis of body packing is made independently in the ED, the issue of reporting the case to law enforcement officials poses a difficult scenario given the legal obligations of patient confidentiality. We describe a case of a body packer brought into the ED and subsequently reported to the police. The conflicts between patient confidentiality versus statutory exceptions to confidentiality along with case law regarding this scenario are discussed.

© 2012 The Authors. EMA © 2012 Australasian College for Emergency Medicine and Australasian Society for Emergency Medicine.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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