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Critique an article / The changing needs in medicine - Essay Example

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Hippocratic Oath made by Hippocrates was considered as “one of the oldest binding documents in history and…is still held sacred by physicians” which explored the duty “to treat the ill to the best of ones ability, to preserve a patients privacy, to teach the secrets of…
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Critique an article / The changing needs in medicine
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Application of Ethics in Medical Practice: A Critique Hippocratic Oath made by Hippocrates was considered as “one of the oldest binding documents in history and…is still held sacred by physicians” which explored the duty “to treat the ill to the best of ones ability, to preserve a patients privacy, to teach the secrets of medicine to the next generation, and so on” (MedicineNet Inc.). A lot of ethical issues have been raised as to public disclosure and confidentiality of HIV-infected patients due to its implications. This influenced Mehta and Padickakudi’s article on Ethics Challenge. The article centres on the case of a general practitioner’s decision on disclosure of an HIV patient’s condition to his wife and the public which has been reviewed in the light of the ethical issues that were involved.
This revolves around ethical issues on patient information disclosure and “exceptions to the rule” so to speak, in which the physician can forego their Hippocratic Oath and disclose an HIV patient’s condition to third parties concerned. This showed that risks to the general population apparently weighs heavier that it becomes acceptable to forego patient confidentiality, mirrored in this statement: "protective privilege ends where the public peril begins” (21), as mentioned Mehta and Padickakudi when they made an example of the Tarasoff case in which the physician was liable due to nondisclosure of the patient’s wish to inflict harm to another. However it is suffice to ask, where is the line drawn on the disclosure to the public? Additional information on benefits that disclosure provides was mentioned, which further strengthens the argument on the importance of foregoing patient confidentiality in HIV cases. There was however, a lack in the information which tackles the risks involved in public disclosure and shows where the writers are leaning as to. It is vital to show the effect that disclosure of confidential information to the public has to the patient’s psyche. Though the article lacked this vital information, it mentioned several ways in which the physician can address the patient’s wish for confidentiality and the disclosure to his wife about his condition by providing proper information and education to the patient in order for him to decide to do the disclosure himself (Mehta and Packikudi 23). These approaches may aid a physician in making decision on disclosure of a patient’s condition.
In this ethics challenge article, Mehta and Padickakudi explores the predicament of disclosure regarding the condition of an HIV patient to third parties involved. But can these approaches apply to certain places or countries where HIV is considered a notifiable disease? Different countries differ in customs, religious and social beliefs on HIV, how can ethical issues apply to them? This only shows that approaches become different in other places. It becomes a case to case basis wherein everything should be reviewed properly in order to come up with the best approach to the matter at hand. This article however touches on the importance of considering the ethical and legal issues which usually go hand on hand with disclosure of medical conditions specially HIV and opens the eyes of the public as well as physicians to the possible approaches to follow and consider in these kinds of situations.
Works Cited:
MedicineNet Inc. “Definition of Hippocratic Oath.” 2011 Mehta, Adwait and Janso Padickakudi. “Ethics Challenge 2009.” Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland, Student Medical Journal 3.1 (2010): 20-23. Read More
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