Practice Management and Administration: Ethics |

ICU Approach by Health Care Providers Towards Sexual Offenders FREE TO VIEW

Yamely Mendez, MS; Shislandia Romero, MS; Sharon Einav, MD; Salim Surani; Joseph Varon, MD
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University General Hospital, Houston, TX

Copyright 2016, American College of Chest Physicians. All Rights Reserved.

Chest. 2016;149(4_S):A419. doi:10.1016/j.chest.2016.02.436
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SESSION TYPE: Original Investigation Slide

PRESENTED ON: Saturday, April 16, 2016 at 04:00 PM - 05:00 PM

PURPOSE: Patient autonomy and social justice are conspicuously absent from the Hippocratic oath. Pellegrino's Precepts, which uphold the principle of beneficence as central to medical ethics, have been suggested as a replacement for the Hippocratic oath. We studied the approach of health care providers towards sexual offenders in the ICU.

METHODS: A 30-question survey was applied to staff members of 24 healthcare institutions in 8 countries. The confidential and anonymous questionnaire addressed personal opinions regarding diverse ethical issues that they encounter in their professional field, including treatment of sexual offenders.

RESULTS: 1450 surveys were completed. Respondents were mostly young (age 31.0±11.4 years), single (59.7%, n=865) females (59.2%, n=859). There were 268 (18.5%) physicians, 392 (27.0%) nurses, 497 (34.3%) medical students, and 275 (19.0%) other healthcare practitioners. 1397 responded to the question regarding whether or not they would change their approach towards a patient in the ICU upon discovery of a background of incarceration for a sex offense would change their approach towards these patients. One in five medical students (20.9%, n=101) and nurses (19.7%, n=75) and one in six doctors (15.1%, n=39) reported they would change their approach towards the patient. Women seemed slightly more likely to change their approach towards sex offenders than men (20.2% vs 16.3%), but this difference was not statistically significant (p= 0.069).

CONCLUSIONS: More than a fifth of healthcare practitioners declare they may not be fully guided by patient beneficence when treating sex offenders. Despite expectations that women would be more biased against such patients, we found no significant difference between genders.

CLINICAL IMPLICATIONS: Pellegrino's Precepts should constitute part of the curriculum in medical schools worldwide. Medical practitioners that feel uncomfortable or unable to provide unbiased health care should be allowed to refer that patient to a colleague.

DISCLOSURE: The following authors have nothing to disclose: Yamely Mendez, Shislandia Romero, Sharon Einav, Salim Surani, Joseph Varon

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