Job’s Code of Ethics: Disclosing a Patient’s Information

Introduction

A dilemma is presented where Ahmed who works in the claims department of a major hospital has a patient who had an accident and has developed mental illness. He realizes that she is his daughter’s grade teacher. Ahmed is not certain whether to inform his daughter and the school about the teacher’s mental illness or just obey his job’s code of ethics not to disclose a patient’s information.

Ethics refers to guidelines that outline how people should operate or behave in a given setting. In the hospital, it is a crime to disclose a patient’s details to anybody. In my perspective, however much Ahmed is not willing to remain silent concerning the illness of a person responsible for her daughter’s learning, he is bound to abide by the hospital’s code of ethics since that is what makes the basis of him serving in that position.

Before Ahmed makes any decision on what to do, he has to consider some factors that can help him deal with the dilemma. First, he should consider his motives and try to detach them from the decision as they could lead him to make an inappropriate choice. Ahmed should also consider the general code of conduct in his career and social codes of conduct that operate in the hospital environment. The most important factor is the consequence of each choice that is available to him. Exposing a patient’s information can cost his job as it would not only violate the principles of his career but also jeopardize the security of future patients.

Decisions deserve deeper and broader consideration. Another consideration that Ahmed should put in perspective is to seek the indulgence of other people who can offer the best opinions about the issue.

Comparisons to theorists

Several philosophers present theories of solving such dilemmas basing their arguments on various considerations. Jeremy Bentham proposes the tenet of utilitarianism. It mentions that the correct choice is one that has the greatest benefit and happiness for many. He argues that it is the extent of happiness arising from a decision that makes it right or wrong.

Although Ahmed was not in a happy state, he would be relieved if he gave out the information to her daughter. Bentham holds a standard in this principle since it leads to the greatest happiness of those whose interests are in question.

Immanuel Kant talks about the principle of deontology. This principle calls for decision-making and dilemma solutions basing facts on the responsibility and obligation of the person in question to another party. Kant referred to his law as a categorically imperative meaning command that holds no matter what the circumstances. He explains that deontological law determines the rightness or goodness of a decision from examining acts, or the rules and duties that the person doing the act strives to fulfill.

Kant argues that in order for one to act morally, they have to consider duty. He adds that it is not the consequence of the act that makes it right or wrong but the motives of the individual doing the act. He also bases his argument on the final goodness of the act, basically the intrinsic goodness due to fulfillment of duty, in which case, it was Ahmed’s duty to ensure that the patient’s records are kept secret.

Another philosopher, Lawrence Kohlberg presents his theory of solving dilemmas by giving three major stages of treating a dilemma solution. His theory is that of moral development. Lawrence’s theory depicts three stages: pre-conventional, conventional, and post-conventional stages. The pre-conventional stage contains a moral judgment, obedience and personal reward orientation.

In the conventional stage, the decision-maker considers social norms and strives to achieve the expectation of others considering the morality defined by the society involved. He also considers maintaining the social order of the society. The post-conventional step is the main decision-making step. The decision-maker puts together all the previous concepts and makes the choice to employ the values and principles.

In my opinion, Jeremy’s theory of utilitarianism contains a flaw of biasness. This is because it considers the satisfaction of only one member of society. The theory does not consider the feelings that would ensue in others from the action of another individual who tries to achieve his happiness. For this reason, I disagree with this principle. In addition, Jeremy is censured for not putting in place a tenet of equality symbolized in the context of justice.

Lawrence Kohlberg on the other hand presents the theory that is not likely to be used by many people to solve their dilemmas. This arises from the fact that it is complex and involves a great deal of pre-evaluation of oneself for which the individual may not have the time. Lawrence’s theory also gives so much priority to society thus forcing the individual to make choices that may not, in the end, favor their needs or interests.

I am in full agreement with Immanuel Kant’s theory of deontology that prompts consideration of an individual’s responsibility and obligation. This theory tends to cover both the interests of the individual and the society. For example, in the case of Ahmed, the interests of the school and her daughter will be put into consideration.

If I were in Ahmed’s shoes, I would consider informing my daughter or the school of the teacher’s mental condition. This would be helpful to the school in knowing how to handle the teacher’s lessons and also contribute towards the well-being of the teacher. The teacher, who was diagnosed with anxiety, depression, and mood swings would need comfort from people who are close to her including her colleagues and her students.

Conclusion

Lawrence’s theory of moral development depicts three major stages. I can best be suited by the pre-conventional step where the judgment is self-centered. This can give me an opportunity to exercise my willingness and achieve self-satisfaction.

Generally, the solution to a dilemma can be done using any of the theories discussed above. However, the choice of the theory to employ solely depends on individual motives, feelings, and responsibility to both the society and the subject of the choices. The choice, no matter the theory of solving the dilemma used encompasses consequences that are necessary to put into consideration when using each of the above theories.

More emphasis should rather be put on problem-solving. A thorough analysis of the problem may produce a solution that solves more than one issue or it may resolve the issue fully instead of creating another problem downstream. Slowing down the process of decision-making can actually accelerate the achievement of an effective and lasting solution.