Analysis of the Involving Confidentiality Issues between Patient and Midwife

The baby girl was delivered at 11:20 that day weighing 800grames. She was transferred to the Neo-natal intensive care unit and Justine was transferred to the Ante-natal ward. As Mark was shocked at the size of the baby, he the midwife (Grace) if Justine could possibly breastfeed the baby. Grace explained that because of Justine’s immune status and the medication she was on, breastfeeding was not
advisable. Grace further explained that breastfeeding could increase the risk of transmission in HIV positive women. It was later discovered that Justine never consented to her HIV positive status being given to Mark. Grace merely assumed that as Mark is the patient’s brother, he "must" know her HIV status and that Justine presumably "must" have asked Mark to accompany her because she probably has had confided in him. As Justine was extremely distressed when she learned of the breach of confidentiality, she demanded that the matter is investigated.
The primary ethical and legal content identified in the given scenario is the obligation of confidentiality which a midwife owes to her patient. To determine the importance of maintaining confidentiality and privacy, it is necessary to consider what it means. Many definitions of confidentiality are very wordy but they almost all contain the word ‘trust’. Relationships in midwifery, as in all areas of health care, are centered on trust. A woman entrusts a midwife with a great deal of personal and generally private information. When she does this she has the right to expect that this information will remain confidential and private, being passed on only with her consent, in order to maintain human dignity. Her right, in this case, is a moral one as there is no statutory right to confidentiality. The privilege of confidentiality belongs to the client/patient and not to the healthcare professionals, as such a breach of confidentiality or privacy can lead to legal action in the civil courts.&nbsp.