Patients Health Records Confidentiality – Medical Ethics Example

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"Patients Health Records Confidentiality" is a great example of a paper on medical ethics. During one of the duties, one of the relatives of the patient insisted to view the medical records of the patient. The relative enlightened the nursing staff that the entire family will use the retrieved health information to update the other relatives of the current condition of the patient. Nurses must implement the code of ethics provisions. Ethical Dilemma Further, the nurse staff sought the permission of the patient. In response, the patient insisted that all his medical records should be kept confidential.   The patient wrote a letter to the nurse stating that the patient will personally update the relatives of any medical information.

The patient insisted to the nurse staff that his right to the confidentiality of health information should be upheld at all times. In terms of impact, the nurse staff must decide whether to comply with the relative’ s instructions or the patient’ s prohibitive instructions. Consequently, the nurse on duty sought my advice on the issue. The nurse staff informed me that the relative persistently demanded the nurse staff to divulge the current physical condition of the patient.

The nurse staff told me that the patient gave her specific instructions to keep his medical information private. Further, the nurse staff informs me of the dilemma. The nurse states the relative insists she has the right to insist on receiving the latest health information on the patient. The relative explains that the patient is no longer in his right mind may is not able to logically make a decision. The relative states that the information will be used as a basis for the relatives’ decisions. As an in-patient hospital Registered Nurse, my intervention was based on the code of ethics of our nation (Benjamin 7).

I firmly instructed the staff nurse to respect the instructions of the patient. I reminded the staff nurse she must abide by the Code of Ethics provisions. One of the provisions states that the nurse’ s primary responsibility and commitment is to the patient. Consequently, any conflicting issue between the patient and the relatives of the patients should be decided in favor of the patient’ s requests or demands. In terms of intervention, I explained to the nurse staff that the medical records of the patient should not be divulged to the relatives in compliance with the code of ethics provisions (Benjamin 7).

One of the Code of Ethics provisions states that the nurses must protect the safety and rights of the patient. One of the patient’ s rights is confidentiality. Consequently, the disadvantaged patient may file a case against the nurse staff and/or the healthcare facility. Conclusion In terms of resolution, the staff nurse complied with my persuasive instructions.

The staff nurse explained to the relatives that they must personally seek their required information from the patient. The staff nurse successfully convinced the visiting relative that the nurses are bound by their code of ethics to prioritize the implementation of the rights of the patients, especially the right to privacy of health-related information. Evidently, nurses should always apply the code of ethics provisions.


Benjamin, M. (2010). Ethics in Nursing. New York: University Press. Print.
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