For instance, in healthcare there is a law referred to as Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), which has provisions that seek to safeguard information about patient’s health related information. Nurses should, therefore, be well versed with such laws in order to execute their duties within the confines of the law. An article by Nathanson (2008), "Bioethics on NBC's ER: Betraying Trust or Providing Good Care? When is it ok to Break Confidentiality?" examines ethical concerns in healthcare that pose a conflicting challenge to involved nurses. The article outlines a dilemma experienced by a nurse, Hathaway, who is tasked with the responsibility of examining two teenage girls. The nurse promises the youngsters that she would not convey the results of the screening to their parents, with the aim of encouraging them to undertake the test. However, on getting the medical examination results, Hathaway realizes that one of the teenagers has both Human papillomavirus (HPV) and cervical cancer. She faces a serious moral decision, since she has to choose between keeping the promise she made to her patient and informing relevant parties, in order to guarantee appropriate medical treatment for all individuals involved. Rationale Since the patient is 14 years old, she falls under the minors’ category, implying that her parents must be informed about the medical diagnosis. This is because, as a child, the patient would not be permitted by the law to provide consent for medical intervention.
Additionally, the 14 year old would not have the financial capability to pay for the treatment. The other dilemma stems from the fact that, the law does not permit reporting of a person’s infection with HPV. Nevertheless, once the girls openly admit that they engaged in unprotected sex with several partners, it would be possible to notify the school administration and local health board thus mitigating the spread of this disease. Based on this analysis, it is evident that information disclosure is in the best interest of the patient, members of the public, as well as, the school administration and the Center for Disease Control (CDC). Ethical Implications for Disclosure Based on provisions outlined in Code of Ethics for Nurses (CEN), the nurse described above is faced with a case of conflict of interest. Nurses should make the decision, as to whether, maintenance of confidentiality would cause more harm than full disclosure. In this case, if Hathaway discloses the patient’s information she risks her privacy, while failure to reveal it is likely to cause harm to the patient, as well as, other members of the public. Even if the nurses’ code of ethics requires them to promote and advocate for the wellbeing, security, and privileges of the patient. Ethical Implications against Disclosure It is evident that the confidentiality laws guard the patient, nurse, as well as, the organization of employment (Nathanson, 2000). Confidentiality breach can make a patient hesitant to get medical attention. Ethical Principles/Theories The utilitarian ethical theory is most appropriate in dealing with the issue above. The utilitarian principles explicitly provide that, an individual should weigh the probable consequences from two choices, and hence draw essential comparison between potential harms and benefits of the exploit adopted. It is then imperative