Secret médical ou la Muette trop bavarde

Source - FlickR Creative Commons - La Muette par dev nullParmi le flot ininterrompu d’anecdotes stériles dont la presse nous abreuve quotidiennement au rang desquelles figurent pêle-mêle le sobriquet affectueux dont le chef de l’État a été théâtralement affublé par la première dame, la superficie prétendument indécente de l’appartement de fonction du président du Sénat, la grossesse de la Garde des Sceaux et son congé de maternité furtif, etc., il en est une qui constitue un véritable cas d’école de la violation du secret médical, tant par la rareté que par le caractère spectaculaire de l’évènement.

Il s’agit des déclarations – suintantes de bons sentiments – du directeur médical de la clinique de La Muette, le Dr. Claude Debache, portant sur le déroulement de l’accouchement de la futur ex-ministre de la Justice, « une patiente comme les autres. » Il y a de quoi s’indigner.

La question de savoir s’il s’agit d’une formidable bêtise ou d’une opération de diversion ne m’intéressant pas, je ne me prononcerai que sur le plan juridique.

La présidente du conseil de l’Ordre départemental des médecins de Paris l’a précisé. L’article R. 4127-4 du code de la santé publique protège le secret médical. Il dispose :

« Le secret professionnel institué dans l’intérêt des patients s’impose à tout médecin dans les conditions établies par la loi. le secret couvre tout ce qui est venu à la connaissance du médecin dans l’exercice de sa profession, c’est-à-dire non seulement ce qui lui a été confié, mais aussi ce qu’il a vu, entendu ou compris. »

Plus encore, l’article 226-13 du code pénal dispose :

« La révélation d’une information à caractère secret par une personne qui en est dépositaire soit par état soit par profession, soit en raison d’une fonction ou d’une mission temporaire, est punie par un an d’emprisonnement et de 15.000 € d’amende. »

La jurisprudence, peu nombreuse il est vrai en la matière, considère que ce secret perdure quand bien même le médecin aurait été radié du tableau de l’Ordre ((CE, 17 juin 1998, Min. Budget, RJF 7/98, n°827, Lebon 236.)). Il a également été admis que le secret, étant institué dans l’intérêt du patient, peut être levé si ce dernier y consent. S’agissant cependant de la photographie d’une patiente prise avec le consentement de l’intéressé et publié, le conseil d’État ((CE, 28 mai 1999, Tordjemann, n°189057.)) a confirmé la sanction infligée à un sexologue qui avait autorisé un journaliste à prendre une photographie de l’une de ses patientes dans son cabinet en vue de la publication dans un hebdomadaire, quand bien même l’intéressée avait donné son consentement.

Or, le gynécologue obstétricien a déclaré :

« Une voiture doit venir chercher, à la clinique de la Muette, ma patiente, Rachida Dati. Nous sommes le jeudi 8 janvier 2009. Je l’ai accouchée par césarienne cinq jours auparavant. Tout s’est bien passé. »

Le lecteur se rappellera sans doute l’affaire Gubler, le médecin personnel de François Mitterand qui avait en son temps publié le livre Le Grand Secret, comportant des révélations qu’il considérait devoir faire pour « l’ensemble des Français au titre de l’histoire de France. »

Le conseil d’État ((CE, 29 décembre 2000, Gubler, n° 211240.)) a retenu, à l’occasion de cette affaire, le caractère impératif de deux principes fondamentaux de l’exercice de la médecine :

« Le médecin ne peut aliéner son indépendance professionnelle sous quelque forme que ce soit. » Ni la demande expresse du patient, fût-il le président de la République, ni « la raison d’État » invoquée par ce dernier, ne délie le médecin de son obligation. Les bulletins de santé inexacts – « tendancieux » – rédigés et signés pendant treize ans sont condamnés sans aucune réserve.

Concernant le respect du secret médical, aucun des arguments avancés par le Dr. Gubler n’a trouvé grâce aux yeux du juge, pas plus « le fait que le patient avait lui-même publiquement fait part de son état de santé ou de certains aspects de sa vie privée » que l’intérêt présenté par les informations révélées « pour l’ensemble des Français au titre de l’histoire de France. »

Le second grief qui peut être adressé à l’obstétricien indélicat réside dans l’opération publicitaire réalisée au profit de son établissement et de lui-même. L’article R. 4127-19 du code de la santé publique dispose :

« La médecine ne doit pas être pratiquée comme un commerce. Sont interdits tous procédés directs ou indirects de publicité et notamment tout aménagement ou signalisation donnant aux locaux une apparence commerciale. »

En faisant part de la méthode d’accouchement « gold standard » à laquelle il a eu recours, en vantant les avantages de ce procédé et en indiquant qu’il l’utilise régulièrement depuis cinq ans, les faits visés à l’article précité sont parfaitement constitués.

Reste la question de savoir si la Garde des Sceaux portera plainte. Quoi qu’il en soit, la Muette nous laisse coi.

Omar YAHIA

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