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Discuss the potential controversy when considering a patient’s right to know whether a caregiver has AIDS, and the caregiver’s right to privacy and confidentiality.
Consider the following: A physician cut his hand with a scalpel while he was assisting another physician. Because of the uncertainty that blood had been transferred from the physician’s hand wound to the patient through an open surgical incision, he agreed to have a blood test for HIV. His blood tested positive for HIV and he withdrew himself from participation in further surgical procedures. Discuss the ethical and legal issues.
Health care brings abroad aspect of legal discussions when it comes to the privacy and confidentiality of the patient-doctor discussions. Normal discussions are always based on the patient’s confidentiality and turning the table to the physicians is sometimes tricky. HIV and AIDS are critical and there is a need for the healthcare department to find a way of determining the status of their doctors before the patient is wheeled in for surgery (Salihu et al., 2018). Both the doctor and the patient should be protected just like it is important to keep private the HIV status of the patient..People living with HIV have a right to confidentiality and privacy so that stigmatization does not set in. Health practitioners are required by law to keep such information private and help the patient work a treatment plan (Salihu et al., 2018). Diagnosing the physicians with the same condition opens the return of the fundamental rights they also enjoy alongside other individuals.
Only if there were to be an incident such as the one described in our discussion prompt, I would want to know. But I do feel healthcare workers do not need to mandatorily disclose health information. They should also be given the same privacy rights as patients. I would rather know their success rates and/or post operative infection rates.
When considering a patient’s right to know whether a caregiver has AIDS, I side with the right of full disclosure. Unfortunately, that will expose some biases, but it is morally and ethically the right thing to do. Upon reviewing the scenario presented, it was in the best interest of all parties involved for the physician to withdraw himself from that surgical procedure and future participation in further surgical procedures, considering the type of incidents that may occur in the OR and high-risk exposure procedures. In 1990 the CDC reported it’s the first case of a healthcare worker transmission of HIV to a patient. The procedure was a dental procedure performed by an AIDS-infected dentist that resulted in an HIV positive patient (Barnes, 1990). Legally, there are ramifications in the accidental exposure, if not for acquiring the illness, then for emotional suffrage, so it is safer to disclose that information and withdraw from potential legal actions. With that being said, healthcare workers are at high exposure risk to viral and bacterial illnesses, and we are owed the right to full disclosure of our patients, which we get. We adjust our care for protection that is adequate for the illness and ourselves. In those scenarios, if we get accidental exposure, the patients are not liable as the risk is in the job we knowingly took. However, it is not the same as a patient’s exposure to a healthcare worker with viral illnesses, such as HIV or AIDS. There is more to lose from any accidental occurrences from the healthcare professionals’ standpoint.
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The following questions refer to your experience in this week’s exercise, Conducting Moral and Ethical Dialog in Clinical Practice. Describe your overall experience with the moral and ethical dialog exercise, and address at least three (3) of the following:
· Did you find any of the scenarios more difficult to deal with than others?
· Did you feel any internal conflict with any of the scenarios?
· How did your personal and professional background impact how you decided to interact with the patient?
· Do you feel the responses the patient gave to the practitioner’s response were reasonable or typical?
· Were you taken aback by any of the patient reactions?
· How might this activity contribute to your role as a nurse advocate in a moral and ethical practice?
· Did you utilize an ethical decision making model to explore a systematic way to evaluate any of these ethical dilemmas? If so, describe the effectiveness.
I enjoyed using the moral and ethical dialog, although some of the answer choices would not have been
my first thoughts on answering my patients. Personal and professional background significantly impact how
I interact with my patients. I have had personal experiences that blur the lines for me in regard to some of
the tough scenarios I face at work. Overall it is my duty to set my feelings aside, but sometimes I do think
my personal experiences help me support my patients better than most people. I follow policy and refer
back to the nursing ethics the Texas Board of Nursing lists on their website. Professionally I have to behave
in a manner that respects my patients wishes, supports them, offers them a safe space, and provide them
options if they are in an abusive situation.
I do feel the responses listed were typical and reasonable. I think sometimes we are all human and can
be insensitive to our patients emotional needs, especially when we are busy trying to help with the physical
ones. I was surprised by some of the patient’s reactions, in general when the practitioner picked the right
answer the patient always responded positively, opened up, and saw the practitioner’s point of view. In
reality, not every patient will respond well no matter what you say, however it is important to recognize
that some will, therefore nurses need to know what to say so they are able to help the patients who are
open to advice (West Coast University, n.d.).
Having a moral and ethical dialog during clinical practice requires one to be able to communicate clearly and effectively. The communication must also involve deliberation between the nurse and the management team to identify the ethical dilemma, and all the facts about it. From personal experience, the major problem is always deciding how to deal with a dilemma. It involves a case of ethics that must be solved with a moral solution (Schuchter & Heller, 2018). For example, choosing to inform a critically ill patient the truth about their case is one where one has to morally decide whether to follow their professional ethics or not.
Making a moral decision on an ethical matter is always accompanied by internal conflict. For example, deciding to inform a patient about her condition against the wishes of family members brings internal conflict. In my case, my decision was guided by both personal and professional values. I chose to gain trust from the patient and determine her ability to cope with the truth before deciding to tell it to her.
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