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Lecture 11 - AIDS Tell Them

Lecture 11 - AIDS Tell Them - the nurse is not in such a...

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Anti-Confidentiality 1 Patient Confidentiality Morton Winston’s “AIDS, Confidentiality, and the Right to Know” I. Prelims A. The rule of medical confidentiality, while stringent and morally justified, is not absolute. II. Our Question A. Is the case of the HIV patient and the emergency workers sufficiently extreme to require a medical practitioner to ignore the rule of medical confidentiality? III. The Case A. Paramedics, after working on a profusely bleeding patient, were later informed by a nurse at the hospital that the patient has HIV. B. Winston thinks that the nurse in this case did the right thing, despite the fact that she ignored the rule of medical confidentiality. IV. The Opposing Side A. Others disagree. Why? 1. One’s HIV status is very private and sensitive information, given the stigma of HIV. 2. Also, a medical practitioner is required to ignore medical confidentiality only if she is in a position of responsibility to prevent harm in question to others. But
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Unformatted text preview: the nurse is not in such a position. 3. That responsibility lies with the paramedics themselves. They should assume that every patient has HIV and protect themselves accordingly V. Winston’s Response A. It is naïve to think that emergency workers are always able to protect themselves from infectious disease. The very nature of their job makes them vulnerable to exposure B. The Vulnerability Principle states: our obligation to prevent a certain harm to a person who is vulnerable to that certain harm is weightier than our obligation to prevent a certain harm to a person who is not vulnerable to the harm. C. The gravity of the harm of HIV infection + Being vulnerable to HIV infection + Stringent obligation to protect the vulnerable = Requires physician to divulge otherwise personal HIV info to the vulnerable party...
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