Ethics are an inseparable part of health care. Well being of the patientis impossible without all the parameters of health care being applied; themedical practices to cure the ailment and ethical measures for mental wellbeing.Confidentiality is the basis for good ethical practice. Its concept ishighly debatable. The debate is over shoul the patients private and sensitiveinformation be shared between medical staff.
By definition, confidentialityprotects patient information from thepublic and the information being abused. Confidentiality of informationpromotes a trustworthy relationship between the patient and health care staff.Divulging of the information is also undergoing debate as to whichinformation and when. Some prominent authors in the world of ethics have arguedthat the information should be passed around the immediate medical staffresponsible for curing the patient. Utilitarians argue that ”Confidentiality should be maintained if it hasthe best outcome, but allows a breach if it serves the best purpose.”My argument is that confidentiality should be maintained but not by anymeans neccessary. For instance if a patient is infected with HIV or otherbloodborne diseases people that need to know, like medical staff and peoplethat came into contact with that bodily fluid, should be informed.
Although ifno harm can come to anyone confidentialiy has to be maintained as it promotestrust and it keeps the patient from harm, thus promoting the patients physicaland mental health.According to therights for patient protection, confidentiality is extremely important. The patientreserves his right to have autonomy over his sensitive information and of whichinformation and when can it be passed and onto whom. Patients usually havecertain expectance that their information is not going to be passed around. Theinternational council for nurses recently adopted an international code ofethics. In the code there is a statement: ” the nurse holds personalinformation in confidence and uses her judgement in sharing it.”By maintaining confidentiality, the medical staffbuilds a trust with its patients.
There are certain expectancies regardingconfidentiality: for one the information shall not be divulged to somebody elsebesides when highly necessary, and without patient consent and also the medicalstaff shall not discuss the problem in open spaces such as corridors. Goodpractice of these procedures is essential for trust.Contrasting the previous statements in this text,there is a possibility of not passing crucial information regarding health careto other medical staff, impeding their teamwork and possibly even resulting ina bad outcome regarding patient health. My stance on this issue is that allinformation regarding a certain patient should be, either verbally or in text,passed around the immediate medical care team, so that there can be noimpeding.
Confidentiality also serves against labeling anddiscrimination of the patient. With confidentiality being maintained, thepatient is being protected from discrimination, that can result instigmatisation. For instance if a patient suffers from a mental illness or HIVhe or she can be discriminated against based on their current disease.
They canend up being shunned by society which either furthers the mental illness orcauses depression.