By David Parry
for the Ethics Institute at Dartmouth
A 66-year-old woman is in the hospital following an automobile accident in which her husband of 42 years has been critically injured. Mrs. Scott's routine admission blood tests indicate that she has latent syphilis. Her attending physician believes it would be too painful for her to learn she has syphilis at this time. He favors treating her but not telling her of her diagnosis. Mrs. Scott's primary nurse, however, feels that not telling the patient is unjustified paternalism, and believes she must be told. Together with the hospital's ethics committee, they wrestle with the underlying ethical and legal issues.
Dramatized by actual healthcare professionals who deal with such issues every day, this composite case portrays a conflict between two mature, assertive professionals who deeply hold reasonable, but different, moral positions.
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Order No. QA-034
" A genuine slice of clinical life. These are real people deliberating on a real issue, and doing it with sensitivity and insight." K. Danner Clouser, PhD
"An excellent presentation of the concept of paternalism, and of the process of clarifying ethical issues. Recommended." ALA Choice
"Will stimulate discussion and introduce issues in medical ethics classes and for hospital ethics committees." Professional Ethics Report
Awards & Conference Screenings
Assn. for Practical & Professional Ethics
Association for Moral Education
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