Sample Ethics Scenario Analysis Paper on Medical Ethics

Often, medical professionals are confronted with challenging situations that require ethical judgment. Many clinical procedures and treatment plans have both merits and demerits. Patients may also have their own circumstances to consider. These facts are closely related Alejandro’s scenario. His doctor, Dr. Price has to apply an ethical judgment on whether to uphold his patient’s wishes and confidentiality, a situation that might prove dangerous to at-risk relatives, or to exercise duty to warn a third party, his wife.

The primary healthcare principle involved in Alejandro’s case is respect for autonomy. According to this principle, the patient has the right to retain utmost control over his body. Similarly, a healthcare professional can only offer advice and recommendations (Regan et al., 2002). However, actions that attempt to coerce patients into making a certain choice violate this principle.  Disclosing Alejandro’s genetic information to at-risk relatives, his wife, against his wish is a confidentiality breach (Dean & Farmer, 2017). In the end, the patient must be allowed to make his decision, regardless of whether the physician believes the choices serve the patient’s best interest.

In line with the principle of autonomy and duty to warn, Dr. Price should not tell Gisella about his husband’s diagnosis. In the case of Pate v. Threlkel, the court held that the physician had a duty to warn his patient of familial implications of a genetic disease but no duty to breach confidentiality and warn at-risk relatives directly (Dean & Farmer, 2017). In light of this case therefore, Dr. Price only had a duty to warn Alejandro on the risks of not disclosing his condition to Gisella, his wife. Further, it can be argued that there was no direct relationship between Gisella and the physician; hence the duty to warn could not be applied directly. Due to the explicit physician-patient contract between Dr. Price and Alejandro, the doctor should not tell Gisella about his husband’s diagnosis.



Dean, S. J., & Farmer, M. (2017). Pediatric cancer genetics. Current opinion in pediatrics29(6), 629-633.

Regan, J. J., Alderson, A., & Regan, W. M. (2002). Health care providers’ duty to warn. Southern medical journal95(12), 1396-1400.