Write a 2 pages paper on provider- patient relationship (case). Privacy and Confidenitality ________ (CASE) By BHS365- Ethics in Health Care ________ Session When each of us make a visit to the doctor’s office for an appointment or are rushed to the emergency room for an unexpected illness or injury, we all have a certain understanding that efforts are being made to make certain that we receive the best treatment and our wishes are being respected. It is the responsibility of healthcare professionals to respect the decisions of patients and keep all information confidential. But what happens when the actions of the patients create an ethical conundrum for the healthcare professionals. Among the examples offered concerning potentially intoxicated patients and patients that have or are, in fact committing a crime. How do health care professionals find the balance to make decisions that honor, both, patient confidentiality and other ethical obligations like reporting a potential crime. It is, often, not an easy decision to make. Imagine yourself as an E.R. physician and a patient arrives who has, according to his companions, ingested a large quantity of illegal drugs. He does not wish to be treated, however, his companions feel that he is mentally impaired by his drug use and should be treated regardless. It is absolutely true that while under the influence of intoxicants one may not be capable of the best possible judgment, however, that may not be true in every case. If one is capable of understanding the consequences of his or her decision regarding receiving treatment and the potential outcomes of refusing it then it would be unethical to disregard their personal choice not to receive medical care. In the case provided the patient was deemed capable of understanding the situation and was allowed to leave without receiving treatment. Ethically, however, if the patient had not been successful in being evaluated as capable of making his own decisions then treatment would and should be administered despite their objections, or at least until they achieve a more competent mental state. for example the effect of the drugs wears off. In the second scenario we are presented with a woman that has admitted to be unable to retrieve a condom filled with an illegal narcotic substance from her vagina. In this case the ethical decision required by the healthcare professional is not so easy. There is the health of the patient, but the patient’s potential medical condition was caused in the process of committing a crime. In this case the decision that seems to create amiable solution results from treating the patient, without contacting law enforcement, and then if drugs were retrieved they would be turned over to police without involving the patient.(Pauls, McRae, Campbell & Dungey, 2004) It is true there are no laws that require healthcare providers to report every crime, the majority falls under the umbrella of protecting patient confidentiality, however there are a few exceptions. Healthcare facilities are required to report concerns of child abuse, issues that are of public health concerns, and injuries caused by gunshots.(“Medical record privacy,” 2012) That said, it is a possibility if healthcare professionals and physicians were more liberal with how often they contacted law enforcement, then individuals in need of treatment who were injured in some sort of illegal behavior may be less likely to seek medical attention. The fear of the negative health repercussions are always outweighed by their fear of the legal ones. This is a perfect scenario to apply the rule of the Principle of Double Effect. In that the healthcare professionals are attempting to make the best decision to treat or not treat the patient based on the individual patient that has the least foreseeable negative outcomes. (Grosse, 2010)However, when it comes to crimes committed, allowing the perpetrator to leave could be only allowing them to continue to commit the same crime again and possibly commit a new crime later. There are many who feel, today, that some of the confidentiality laws as it related to wrongdoers need a bit of reform. Meaning that they feel that someone who commits a crime should not be able to avoid police involvement because they received the injuries requiring care during a commission of a crime, or as the result of one. In the end it has been the intention of the medical professions to maintain that level of confidentiality, privacy, and trust between patient and physicians. That has not changed since the formation of the Hippocratic Oath centuries ago.(Grosse, 2010) It has never been the intention of the strict privacy and confidentiality laws to aid those committing illegal acts, but to make certain that all patients are treated equally regardless of who they are and what they may, or may not, have done. The world of healthcare ethics can be the source of so many excruciatingly ethically dizzying scenarios that test someone understanding of what is right and wrong. It is situations, like those presented in these case studies, where it becomes important to remember the importance of understanding, embracing, and implementing professional ethics over personal ones.ReferencesGrosse, J. R. (2010, December). Patient confidentiality, hipaa, and public health . Retrieved from http://www.lifeissues.net/writers/gro/gro_90publichealth.htmlMedical record privacy. (2012). Retrieved from http://epic.org/privacy/medical/Pauls, M., McRae, A., Campbell, S., & Dungey, P. (2004). Ethics in the trenches: Part 2. case studies of ethical challenges in emergency medicine. CJEM : Journal of the Canadian Association of Emergency Physicians, 6(5), 363-366.
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Write a 2 pages paper on provider- patient relationship (case). Privacy and Confidenitality ________ (CASE) By BHS365- Ethics in Health Care ________ Session When each of us make a visit to the doctor