NBC ER

Topics: Ethics, Sexually transmitted disease, Human sexual behavior Pages: 2 (1015 words) Published: October 28, 2014

Patients should feel at ease when giving personal information to their physician or nurse (Burkle & Cascino, 2011). Patients may resist offering pertinent information if they feel their confidence may be betrayed. Confidentiality can only be broken when it involves a gunshot wound, injuries resulting from child abuse or an infectious disease, which would put the community at risk. Such is the case presented in Nathanson’s article titled: “Betraying trust or providing good care? When is it okay to break confidentiality?” (2000). The article addresses an ethical dilemma presented in an episode of NBC’s ER. Nurse Carol Hathaway promises two reluctant teenage patients who are seeking care, that anything they tell her will remain confidential, even from their parents and anyone else. Agreeable to this, the girls divulge they have been sexually active with multiple partners and suspect they have been exposed to a sexually transmitted disease (STD). Tests were performed on the teenager for STD’s and receive Pap tests to detect any cervical abnormalities. The test results confirm, Andrea, is positive for the human papillomavirus (HPV) and cervical cancer. Promising Andrea confidentiality, Nurse Hathaway knows she must break the promise or potentially endanger herself and the community. Nurse Hathaway is faced with ethical consequences if she breaks confidentiality with her patient. Of these consequences are reluctance to disclose pertinent information, feelings of betrayal, enraged parents, disrespect of staff members, job termination, demeaned hospital reputation, poor school reputation, and a non supportive bureaucratic and legal system (Burkhardt & Nathaniel, 2008). Nurses are fearful of these ethical implications, which keep them from disclosing important information, which can have disastrous results (Griffith, 2008). Deontology best describes Nurse Hathaway’s ethical framework when she finds it necessary to break Andrea’s confidentiality. The deontology...
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