Case for mandatory reporting of 'body packers'

Biswadev Mitra, Pieter De Villiers Smit, William P. O'Shea

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleOtherpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


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.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)670-672
Number of pages3
JournalEMA - Emergency Medicine Australasia
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 6 Dec 2012


  • Body packer
  • Confidentiality
  • Legislation and jurisprudence
  • Street drug

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