Reporting the Motorist with Epilepsy
[Taken from Veatch, et. al. 2015. Case Studies in Biomedical Ethics. Oxford University Press, page 288.]
A young man was brought into a private hospital seizure clinic, where the following record was kept on him over the next for days:
3/22 9:47 a.m. Admitted to the seizure clinic from Emergency Department (ED). Reported seizure while walking to work. … The patient reports one previous seizure just like this one” approximately four years ago … Rx diphenylhydantoin. ).1Gm. No.21 sig: i tid.
3/24 EEG (electroencephalogram) confirms the suspicion of grand mal. The patient pleads not to report the case to the Motor Vehicle Department. Says he only drives 2 times a month–to care for mother who lives alone on the family farm. Says distance is “about 10 miles.” Will consult hospital attorney, but consider primary responsibility is to patient and patient’s mother.
3/25 Attorney says the law in California requires a report of all seizure diagnoses. But does this conflict with medical ethics?
Question: Do you agree that this reporting requirement conflicts with medical ethics? Which action (reporting or not) would best uphold the principles of beneficence and/or nonmaleficence? You should write one full paragraph to respond to the question in which you defend your view on the case. You are encouraged to reply to others, but you do not have to do so. Make sure your response is discussed in the terminology of the course — beneficence (what is it?), autonomy, non-maleficence, etc.