Breaching Confidentiality in Health Care

Breaching Confidentiality in Health Care. From the Feb 24, 2000 episode on confidentiality, it is clear that there is a need for a nurse to respect his or her promise to a patient. In most cases, a promise of not disclosing information is made by nurses in order to get adequate information from patients and help them get the appropriate medical care. Nurse Carol Hathaway promised Andrea that she would not disclose her health information to her parents despite that she was a minor (Nathanson, 2000). This promise was made for the good of Andrea to provide adequate information about her personal life for the nurse to test her. An ethical dilemma arises when the nurse identified that Andrea’s health condition could worsen if not followed up clearly (Veatch, 1983).

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This ethical dilemma could be approached by the ethics committee through the reference of the consequentialism theory. They would therefore indicate that there are some situations that can force one to breach confidentiality especially if this would save an individual or community (Veatch, 1983). By using the theory, they would collaboratively explain that some ethical conditions would require reviewing in order to include conditions that are aimed at saving the majority.


Nathanson, P. (2000).  Bioethics on NBC’s ER: Betraying Trust or Providing Good Care? When
Is It Ok to Break Confidentiality?
Retrieved on March 14, 2012 from

Veatch, R. (1983). A Theory of Medical Ethics. New York: Prentice Hall