Application of the Normative Ethical Theories on Case 1.2
In this paper two chosen moral theories are being applied and analyzed on the provided case where John Smith, M.D., is a psychiatrist with a private practice. He has been extremely successful in helping child-abusing parents with his effective therapies but systematically refuses to report child-abuse cases to the authorities. This confidentiality has resulted into more abusive parents who were afraid of being reported to authorities and has avoided taking their child to the physicians (1). The leading idea here is to analyze the case on the basis of two ethical theories; Rule Utilitarianism and Kantian Ethics. Also to ...view middle of the document...
However there are some moral obligations of every profession to maintain in the society for the benefit of the client and the community he lives in. Such cases where the confidentiality of the client affects the person and the community he lives in should be reported. My belief is that Dr. Smith should report his client’s abusive nature to the authorities and maintain the same information in their file for future counseling. My sincere belief is that by rigorously adhering to the patient confidentially agreement, Dr. Smith is aiding in harming these children. These children who are abused could have grave health issues that are left untreated because of the abuse inflicted by their parents.
Analyze the Case based on both the Ethical Issues
Applying Rule Utilitarianism
The Rule Utilitarian Ethic is a kind of Utilitarianism which emphasis on rules as the core essence according to its name. In this ethic rules play a crucial role over pleasure. Rule Utilitarianism believe that rules brings goodness and thus gives happiness if followed (2). Rule Utilitarianism is motivated by rules, behaviors and moral values that bring human happiness. Rule utilitarianism states that: An act is right when it follows a valid moral rule whose regular observance produces at least as much happiness as other applicable valid moral rules would produce. Rule’s observance increases human happiness over period of time irrespective of its consequences (3). This rules applies in this case because this case specifically mentions the issue of confidentiality. The general rule of the patient doctor agreement is to maintain confidentiality. This rule can be said to maximize benefit because it protects people from being harmed or taken advantage of through the misuse of their information. The psychiatrist’s action of not reporting these abusive patients is correct because it is in agreement with this rule about confidentiality.
Applying Kantian Ethics
Kantian ethics emphasize on one’s moral duty to do right things irrespective of the consequences that evaluates a person’s ethical behavior and his character. These ethics are deontological, and based completely on the moral rules and duties regardless of the consequences or results (5). Kant's first formulation of the Categorical Imperative, the Formula of Universal Law runs: Act only according to that maxim by which you can at the same time will that it should become a universal law (G 421/39). According to Kant’s Universal Law an individual action is considered acceptable if it remains consistent or acceptable when it is universalized. (6). In this case it seems that Dr. Smith believes that by rigorously adhering to his client patient confidentiality, he is able to help precisely those people who are most likely to injure their children. His intentions of protecting both clients and their children appears to be genuine, because he believes in his treatment and he believes that by protecting his clients confidentiality,...