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Variability in Hospital Care of Rape Victims Essay

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Updated: May 4th, 2022

There is an increased concern that victims of rape never receive emergency contraceptives in the emergency rooms of most health facilities. For instance, in Catholic hospitals, this practice is rampant. In the article reviewed, the Catholic Church believes that it is not in good faith to involve rape victims in practices that may interfere with any form of life, beginning with fertilization. In various debates regarding medical ethics, under the doctrines of the Catholic Church, the term contraception refers to the prevention of contraception. The Catholic Church holds a view that, since human life begins during conception, any disruption of the process after fertilization may constitute an abortion. However, in the medical fraternity, there is an opinion that abortion is a process that ends not a life, but a pregnancy. The argument is that pregnancy starts at implantation, but not at conception. In this perspective, contraception may include the prevention of implantation of the fertilized ovum.

Legal considerations in the Brownfield v. Daniel Freeman Marina Hospital case relate to making information available, prescription, as well as, pregnancy prophylaxis in hospitals’ emergency rooms. However, the results from the article demonstrate that some Catholic hospitals implement policies that prohibit rape victims from getting informed, forgetting the existence of Emergency Contraception State Laws. Moreover, some unfortunate rape victims are informed about the treatment they receive only through inquiry. A rape victim should be able to provide defense for herself from any potential conception and achieve adequate treatments of her choice, to suppress ovulation and to assist in incapacitating sperm. However, in the case cited, the nurses in the Catholic hospital never discussed the issue. Moreover, the appellant only learned about the treatment only by asking.

Various ethical concepts and principles are reported in this case. For example, the most notable ethical principle is the respect of persons that require the person investigating the incidence to treat everyone as individuals as capable of making personal goals, as well as informed choices. Thus, in giving respect to the autonomy of individuals, the actions and decisions of the victims should not be obstructed, not unless, there is proof that the actions of the participants may be harmful to themselves or others. Thus, it is necessary, that healthcare providers must understand the victim’s capacity for self-determination.

According to the judgment provided in the Brownfield v. Daniel Freeman Marina Hospital case, I support the ruling provided by the court (Ascension Health, 2007). According to the ruling made by the Court, a rape victim should be informed so that she may be able to make informed decisions, at a personal level. According to Smugar, Spina, and Merz (2000) denying a rape victim the right to information constitutes a medical malpractice action. In such a case, the victim may sue the person attending to her, if the skilled medical practitioner would have provided such information as well as, access under the same conditions. The liability may also arise if the medical practitioner selected such treatment, which terminates a pregnancy. Furthermore, the liability may also constitute the failure to provide such information to the victims.

In conclusion, rape victims should be provided with access to information, which may include relocation of the appellant to another hospital or may be ssigned a different physician. Therefore, under the state’s abortion laws, the Catholic hospital was not immunized from liability due to the failure to provide vital information to the rape victim.

References

Ascension Health (2007). Brownfield v. Daniel Freeman Marina Hospital. Web.

Smugar, S., Spina, B., & Merz, J. (2000). Informed consent for emergency contraception: variability in-hospital care of rape victims. American Journal of Public Health, 90(9), 1372-1376.

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