Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland
RCSIsmj Ethics Challenge winner 2009.pdf (139.19 kB)

RCSIsmj Ethics Challenge winner 2009

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journal contribution
posted on 2023-07-26, 14:03 authored by Adwait Mehta, Janso Padickakudi

The RCSIsmj Ethics Challenge 2009 presented the case of a rural GP in Ireland who has diagnosed one of his patients, Richard, as HIV positive. Given a troublesome marriage in which Richard and his wife Sheila have stopped any form of intimacy, the GP is threatened with litigation should Richard’s HIV status become known to Sheila. The age-old notion of patient confidentiality is, clearly, at the centre of this ethical dilemma. This article aims to identify the ethical issues raised by the case, to address these academically and to suggest how the situation might be addressed in a satisfactory manner. Throughout the article weaknesses of the arguments are also identified. The underlying question that is posed is of interest to medical students who will encounter ethical dilemmas throughout their careers: how is it possible for a GP to reconcile his professional duty of confidentiality with protecting the welfare and health of another patient and of society in general?



The original article is available at Part of the RCSIsmj collection:

Published Citation

Metha A, Padickakudi J. RCSIsmj Ethics Challenge winner 2009. RCSIsmj. 2010;3(1):20-24

Publication Date



  • Undergraduate Research


RCSI University of Medicine and Health Sciences


  • Published Version (Version of Record)