The Usual Suspects
Iserson, Kenneth V.
Hastings Center Report. 1992 Mar-Apr; 22(2): 56-57.
This case study highlights the conflict between confidentiality in patient care and the state's interest in protecting abused children. A physician treating a three-year-old girl suspects the parents' account of how she injured herself and wonders whether the child's five year old, emotionally troubled brother was involved. In fact, the parents had lied about their son's injuring his sister, fearful of the consequences to their family if the physician reported the incident to authorities. They had resolved on the way to the emergency room to watch over their daughter more carefully, and to find a psychotherapist for their son. Iserson, a professor of emergency medicine, and Schoeman, a philosopher, comment on whether the parents are justified in their attempts to protect their family with a lie, and whether the physician should report her suspicions. (KIE abstract)
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