A young woman was found unresponsive on a desert highway and brought to the emergency room of a local hospital. After five days in a coma, the woman awoke and did not know her name, where she was from, her history, or have any recollection of her past. She was given the name Jane Brown and eventually released from the hospital.
After many years working with social service agencies, she built a new life but never regained memories of her past. Eventually, she graduated from college, moved to the Pacific Northwest, married, and had two sets of twins one year apart.
One day a man recognized her as a missing woman from Arizona and contacted authorities. The police notified Ms. Brown of her past life and informed her she has family members who want to meet her. With the hope of remembering her past, she met with them.
With the case receiving national news coverage and attention, the local hospital noticed a marked increase in the number of people requesting access the health records of Ms. Brown and her children.
1. What is the ethical dilemma associated with this case study?
2. What steps can the health care organization take to prevent unethical behavior associated with this case study?
3. In what ways could Ms. Brown react should she learn that her family’s cultural bias and prejudices are different from her own?