Looking for opinions on a situation!!!

  1. im looking for opinions on a issue that occurred. now this is something that happened a while ago but it still irks me...

    i was working in a ob/gyn clinic and we had a 8 month pregnant lady that was seen every month since the beginning of her pregnancy. one day her husband calls the doctor and tells him that he has had an affair and has contracted a std . he is scared for his wife and unborn baby that he will pass this to them. but he does not want her to know that he had this affair but she needs to be checked which requires a pelvic exam and he testing itself...in order to do this the doctor must lie to the patient ... now im just looking for opinions, the doctor ended up lying to the patient and she did not find out as far as i know...as the nurse i felt like climbing in a hole in the floor so i just backed out of the whole thing...this really has bothered me a lot. what do you think about all this mess
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  2. 20 Comments

  3. by   Daytonite
    You have to keep the confidentiality. No one, but the doctor and the patient's husband had the right to say anything about it to the patient. At least the husband had the decency to say something to his wife's doctor. I think this was definitely the doctor's ethical dilemma to figure out.

    As for an opinion about the husband--scumbag.

    One of the problems in this profession is that you run across situations like this where you just want to scream out what is going on, and you can't. It makes us extra careful in our own lives.
  4. by   miracle1986
    What the Doctor did was illegal. No 'testing' should be done on an individual unless "okayed by the individual himself / herself". Even alcoholics / druggies have some rights to refuse testing in some cases. After the baby is born, if the said 'woman in case' should happen to have an affair...the STD goes on and on. So, when does it stop? Maybe when an anonymous call is made to the A.M.A. about the doctors breach of ethics and he is called on it.
  5. by   miracle1986
    Just read yours daytonite....isn't it called "patient - doctor confidentiality?"
    not "husband of patient-doctor confidentiality"????? ...please don't tell me that i am that old and out dated !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! please let me know. have been in similar situations myself at work.......
  6. by   Daytonite
    miracle1986. . .we don't know what was said between the doctor and the patient. So, I am not going to assume anything.
  7. by   Jokerhill
    Where is the public health department? The husbands Dr. should be reporting this and getting a list of all contacts of the man and contacting them. The wifes Dr. has no way of telling if the man is telling him the truth and if the woman is Negative then he can't report it. All he can do is try to protect his patient as best he can. As for testing the MD can and does run test all the time without explaining what they are for and the patients just consent to it by not asking for info and refusing, It is a general understanding that the patient is there for treatment and care.
  8. by   babynurselsa
    At least the piece of garbage felt enough remorse to try to make sure that he had not infected his family. At least the Doc also tried to make sure that she was protected. Having personally cared for 2 babies of moms who contracted new onset herpes while pregnant in a like fashion and then watched the horrific death of 2 beautiful term babies from herpetic encephalitis. It makes me a little less troubled.
    THis mother signed a consent for treatment, these are fairly routing cx that are collected with a pap exam. It should have been time for this mom to have been screened for GBS anyway?? If it had not been already done.
    Actually the teaching hospital I used to work at these cx were routing as many of the clientele were repeatedly re-infected.
    Yes unfortunately, the doc was bound by confidentiality laws. Yes the "Husband is a %&#*!.
    Do you think that she isn't eventually gonna find out somehow? Not likely.
  9. by   chenoaspirit
    But imagine if that patient HAD asked what the test was for. I always ask when Im the patient. I dont know if what the doctor did was legal or not, but imagine how that woman looks to the medical team around her and how she would feel if she found out, or how she would feel about that doctor knowing he had with-held info that pertained to her health and life. I just couldnt be involved in such a situation as a nurse. I would feel like I was betraying the patient. But I would also want to ensure the health of her and the baby too. Its a no-end situation no matter how you look at it.
  10. by   ceecel.dee
    Quote from Daytonite
    At least the husband had the decency to say something to his wife's doctor. I think this was definitely the doctor's ethical dilemma to figure out.
    This is what strikes me at first blush too.
    Frankly, I don't know the legalities in this situation. I think the adulteror was trying to protect his wife and baby, and at least that part is good.
  11. by   miracle1986
    i agree with chenoaspirit. withholding info from the patient is illegal. been there.
  12. by   ACESfan87
    I dont know if the legal laws were broken, but ethical values must be nit to this Doc.
  13. by   TrudyRN
    Quote from chenoaspirit
    But imagine if that patient HAD asked what the test was for. I always ask when Im the patient. I dont know if what the doctor did was legal or not, but imagine how that woman looks to the medical team around her and how she would feel if she found out, or how she would feel about that doctor knowing he had with-held info that pertained to her health and life. I just couldnt be involved in such a situation as a nurse. I would feel like I was betraying the patient. But I would also want to ensure the health of her and the baby too. Its a no-end situation no matter how you look at it.
    Maybe the woman would not want to know. Ignorance truly is bliss. She might have suspected something already but maybe can't deal with it just now. Maybe by telling her, you'd cause a divorce and maybe she doesn't want that. Being told that your husband had an affair is not a good way to spend the way. Bitterness, unforgiveness, betrayal all enter in. And for what? Hopefully, he will transgress no more and his wife doesn't have to be burdened with knowing that he cheated.

    You say you could not be involved in a situation like this but what would you do if you worked for this doctor? Would you tell the patient? Would you refuse to participate in her care? Would you report the doctor to his licensing board? What exactly would you do or not do?

    I think consulting an attorney is in order to find out if he did anything illegal. If not, then it's an ethical issue only. Not to minimize it but, as Maxine said today on "Judging Amy", "I've learned the value in not knowing."

    I think sometimes we have to just ponder things in our hearts and then keep quiet and leave it alone. Which is the lesser of 2 evils?
  14. by   nicunana
    How do you know the Dr. didn't tell the patient what test he was ordering? The scenario could have been "Now that you are so close to delivery, I want to run our standard STD panel on you so that all that will be taken care before your admission. That's one less thing we'll have to worry about at that time." I see no reason that he should have had to follow that up with "and besides your husband called & said he has an STD. " The Dr's resposibility was to identify any problems that might be present to affect Mom or the baby, not to become involved in marital issues. The fact that the STD test may not have been "standard" at this point in the pregnancy was to my way of thinking a kindness to the patient. Take it from one who knows, no one wants to find out near the end of her pregnancy that her husband is an unfaithful cad. If this is an isolated instance, they can get on with their marriage. If this is not an isolated instance, she will find out soon enough, without making what should be one of the happiest times of her life a nightmare. I think the Dr. showed great compassion.

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