April J. Bundy
Ethical Decision Making in Heath Care
January 22, 2012
Betraying Trust or Providing Good Care?
The Hippocratic Oath, taken by all healthcare professionals states that, “What I may see or hear in the course of the treatment or even outside of the treatment in regard to the life of men, which on no account one must spread abroad, I will keep to myself, holding such things shameful to be spoken about. I will respect the privacy of my patients, for their problems are not disclosed to me that the world may know.” (Lasagna, 1964) This tells healthcare professionals that it is their duty to keep the things that they hear and see about a person private and confidential. As healthcare professionals, we must know that if confidentiality is breached, patients may be reluctant to disclose full information to any healthcare professional or even avoid seeking care. (Nathanson, 2000)
“The deontological theory states that people should adhere to their obligations and duties when analyzing an ethical dilemma.” (Rainbow, 2002) Therefore, a person who follows the deontology theory will produce very consistent decisions since they will be based on their set duties. Following the deontology theory, as healthcare providers, it is our obligation and duty to respect our patients enough to respect their right to confidentiality. Breaches of confidentiality breaks that level of trust and respect that healthcare professionals work so hard to gain, that after that is broken, and it’s extremely difficulty to rebuild that trust and respect.
It is true that there are times as healthcare professionals that we are obligated by law to break confidentiality. In the story of the ER episode, Carol Hathaway has an obligation to notify the public health department of this situation, this is to protect the health of the community. (Nathanson, 2000) There are several consequences in the activities that these teen girls...