SITUATION

17 y/o girl who found out that she is pregnant and

asked her doctor not to tell her parents. What should the doctor do? Tell her parents or not? The patient also asked her doctor to refer her to another doctor who knows how to perform abortion…

ISSUES at HAND
Patient Confidentiality Professional Secrecy Natural Secrecy Promised Secrecy Committed Secrecy Informed Consent Delegated Prerogative Principle of Cooperation

Patient Confidentiality
Dr. has an obligation to keep confidential

any and all information regarding his patients.
Case Question How should the Dr. balance this case

according to the following issues?

Professional Secrecy
By virtue of his position, doctor is obliged to

keep secret certain information regarding patients

Case Question Is he obliged to not tell the parents simply

because the patient is under his care?

Natural Secrecy
Dr is obliged to keep info private because of

the nature of the info
Case Question Will revealing the patient’s pregnant status to

the parents damage her ego or pride?

Promised Secrecy
Dr. is obliged to keep private info that he has

involuntarily come to know
Case Question Is the Dr. obliged to not tell the parents

simply because he was told the information?

Committed Secrecy
The patient is guaranteed the info will be

kept private by the Dr. before agreeing to discuss the information

Case Question Should the Dr. keep private the info

knowing the patient only told him in the first place because she assumed he wouldn’t reveal the info?

Informed Consent
The Dr. must reveal all pertinent information

regarding his decisions towards the patient
Case Question Does the Dr. have the right to tell the parents

since she is still a minor?

Delegated Prerogative
The Dr. can refer the patient, or the

patient can choose another Dr. to care for them

Case Question Should the Dr. refer her to another Dr.

regarding the abortion?

Principles of Cooperation
The principles of cooperation were developed

in the Catholic moral tradition as a way of helping individuals discern how to properly avoid, limit, or distance themselves from evil (especially intrinsic evil. 1. formal (always immoral) 2. immediate (immoral) 3. mediate material (may be moral)

Principles of Cooperation
Immediate material cooperation occurs when the cooperator participates in circumstances that are essential to the commission of an act, such that the act could not occur without this participation. Immediate material cooperation in intrinsically evil actions is morally illicit.

Case Question Should her doctor refer her to another doctor to perform the abortion?

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