Ethical Implications of a Confidentiality Breach Within the Healthcare Industry

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There are several ethical implications to consider in regards to a breach of confidentiality, especially when considering cases within the healthcare industry. Nathanson's article, "Bioethics on NBC's ER: Betraying trust or providing good care? When is it OK to break confidentiality" explores some of the more salient ramifications. One of the fundamental components of this article is a case study in which a teenager, Andrea, has developed a form of cancer related to sexual activity and a medical professional, Nurse Hathaway, has learned of her condition. Professional entities such as the Nursing and Midwifery Council have strict codes about what information these practitioners can and cannot give out regarding their patients. This case study, then, alludes to the central issue at play in such an instance of a breach of confidentiality. If the nurse's true obligation is to the welfare of her patients, is it in the best interest of a patient for nurses to reveal their confidentiality to individuals and organizations that can ultimately help them, or should the nurse maintain her confidentiality agreement even if doing so will ultimately reduce the patient's chance for assistance with a medical condition? One can discern that ethically, a branch of confidentiality represents a conflict of interest as to where a nurse's true professional and ethical loyalties lie. One the one hand the nurse has an obligation to act as a professional, which naturally requires adhering to rules

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