On a Wednesday morning in 2008 in Lewisville, Ohio, a man walked into Samuels Hardware Store, grabbed an pick-ax, and began swinging at the customers and shouting about the devil. When he left, one person was dead and two others were critically injured. Ten days later, police received a call from Mr. T., who was a patient in the 49-bed psychiatric unit at St. John’s Hospital. Mr. T told the police that his roommate at the hospital confessed to the crime inLewisville. However, he didn’t know his roommate’s name but they could get it from the nurses. The police contacted Nurse S. and asked her to identify the patient but she refused to do so. She told them that she believed his name was shielded by state mental health law guaranteeing the confidentiality of mental patients. Hospital administrators supported her decision and obtained legal counsel for her.
- Why did the nurse require legal counsel?
2. Was the nurse legally correct in her refusal to divulge information? Why?
3. Was the nurse ethically correct in her refusal to divulge information? Why?
4. If she had divulged the identity of the patient, what legal action could be taken against her, if any?
5. Under what circumstances could the nurse be required to divulge information about this case?