Responding to all the media hype about how German privacy laws contributed to the Germanwings tragedy, Carissa Véliz writes, in part:
Frank Ulrich Montgomery, president of the German Medical Association (BÄK), disagrees. He pointed out that, under current laws, aviation doctors are relieved of their duties of confidentiality if they think a pilot could put other people’s lives at risk. Under German law, there are two exceptions that allow for a breach of doctor-patient confidentiality: when it is believed a patient is planning to commit a serious crime, and when it is believed that the patient suffers from an epidemic disease. If Lubitz’s doctor did not alert Germanwings, it must have been because he or she did not believe Lubitz to be a threat. If Lubitz did not share symptoms with his doctor that would make him or her believe that the co-pilot might endanger other people, there does not seem to be a reason why Lubitz’s doctor should have informed the airline of his depression.
Read more on Practical Ethics, University of Oxford.