When Is It Ok to Break Confidentiality? Essay

1225 Words Apr 9th, 2013 5 Pages
When is it OK to Break Confidentiality? Confidentiality is central to trust between doctors, medical team and patients. Patients have a right to expect that information about them will be held in confidence. The birth of the Hippocratic Oath in the fourth century started the responsibility of physicians to preserve the privacy and confidentiality of their patients. One of the provisions of the Oath lays the ethical foundation for the physician’s duty of confidentiality even beyond the circumstances of medical care. The Florence Nightingale Pledge, which was composed in 1893, was a modification of the “Hippocratic Oath,” a statement of the ethics and principles of the nursing profession. Included in the pledge is to hold in confidence …show more content…
It is important to retain trust in the nurse patient relationship and maintain confidentiality unless disclosure can be justified. The personal Nightingale Pledge taken upon graduation supports this author’s belief. The Nursing Code of Ethics also guides this author, which states the importance of nurses upholding their duty to maintain patient information in confidence regardless of who they are (American Nurses Association, 2013). This author also adheres to the HIPAA laws and JCAHO. Confidentiality is at the heart of the code of ethics for healthcare. Dealing with confidentiality can be very confusing at times, like in the example of the NBC ER episode 2000, called “Betraying Trust or Providing Good Care.” The healthcare professional at any given time may have to ask themselves to breach confidentiality or not to breach? Another question that the healthcare professional may ask is do I provide good care or betray my patient and their trust? The good new is there are ethical codes to guide and help the health care professional. In the ER episode the nurse Hathaway was faced with an ethical dilemma of breaking confidentiality or keep her fidelity. Hathaway had promised to help a 14-year-old patient, Andrea, and swore confidentiality in order to gain the girl’s trust. Sadly, Andrea was diagnosed with Human papillomavirus (HPV), a sexually transmitted disease which led to cervical cancer. Andrea was also involved in risky sexual

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