Genetic Information, the Principle of Rescue, and Special Obligations

S. Matthew Liao, Jordan Mackenzie

Research output: Contribution to journalComment/debatepeer-review


In “Genetic Privacy, Disease Prevention, and the Principle of Rescue,” Madison Kilbride argues that patients have a duty to warn biological family members about clinically actionable adverse genetic findings. The duty does not stem from the special obligations that we may have to family members, she argues, but rather follows from the principle of rescue, which she understands as the idea that one ought to prevent, reduce, or mitigate the risk of harm to another person when the expected harm is serious and the cost or risk to oneself is sufficiently moderate. We doubt, however, whether the principle of rescue can ground a duty to warn in the cases Kilbride envisages, and we suggest that Kilbride may have underappreciated the role that special obligations could play in generating a duty to warn family members.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)18-19
Number of pages2
JournalHastings Center Report
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 1 2018

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Issues, ethics and legal aspects
  • Philosophy
  • Health Policy


Dive into the research topics of 'Genetic Information, the Principle of Rescue, and Special Obligations'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this