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Duty to Tell?

A woman in the UK is suing doctors for not telling her that her father had Huntington's disease and that she and her unborn child were at risk of having inherited the gene, the Guardian reports.

According to the Guardian, the unnamed woman's father learned in 2009 that he had Huntington's disease while doctors at St. George's Hospital urged him to tell his daughter about his condition and her risk of inheriting it, her father did not want to tell her because she was pregnant and thought she might then have an abortion. The doctors, the Guardian says, accepted his decision.

This led the woman, who later learned of her father's condition, to sue the hospital, it reports, adding that she too has been diagnosed with the disease.

According to the Guardian, the case, which has bounced from the high court to the court of appeal and now seems to be trial bound, is being watched closely in the UK as it could have ramifications for who doctors have to inform of genetic testing results.

"This could really change the way we do medicine, because it is about the duty that doctors have to share genetic test results with relatives and whether the duty exists in law," Anna Middleton from the Wellcome Genome Campus tells the paper.