Ethical Dilemma Analysis Essay

1043 Words Apr 29th, 2013 5 Pages
When is it OK to break confidentiality?
Eva Tovstiga
Grand Canyon University: NRS 437V

March 28, 2013

When is it OK to break confidentiality?
A teenager presents to an emergency department (ED) and is promised no information will be divulged regarding her treatment. This teenager is subsequently diagnosed with cervical cancer and human papillomavirus (HPV) (Nathanson, 2000). The nurse that promised confidentiality now faces an ethical dilemma: if she keeps her promise to the girl, she may not get the proper follow up care and support to treat her illness, and if she breaks her promise, she has violated the ethical principles of fidelity, and autonomy (Nathanson, 2000). This paper will discuss the ethical implications of
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This last option would be least desirable since the girl would likely be angry and upset that the nurse went behind her back and broke her promise to her. At this point the dilemma has been thought about and the alternative options examined. Step 5 is acting on the best alternative. The nurse decides to call the parents and speak with the girl that her wishes are heard and respected but in her best interests the promise to not tell must be broken. In teleology ethics, the focus is on the best outcome. The outcome of good is greater than the bad even though some bad will result from the decision (Purtilo & Doherty, 2011). Step 6 is evaluation and reflection of the chosen decision. The nurse knows that her ultimate goal is what is best for the girl in her treatment of her cancer, considering her age. She acted in the correct manner to elicit the best possible outcome and she did it in a caring way. Ethics committees, with their multi-disciplinary grouping, can also help in ethical dilemmas if time allows for a meeting to be called. Diverse views are shared and presented, and the best possible path is chosen. Limitations of ethics committees is the time needed to come to a decision since ethical dilemmas often need to be made quickly.
“The duty of confidence is not absolute” (Griffith, 2007, p. 531). On occasion, confidence must be broken in order to provide ethical care. Organized thought processes such as the

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