BACKGROUND: The near completion of the human genome mapping project promises to yield much information to our basic scientific knowledge base. At the same time, the scope of optometry has evolved exponentially. Our current diagnostic skills now enable us to diagnose conditions where cures may not yet exist. Much of contemporary bioethics education centers around the presentation of case studies as platforms to discuss the complexities of arriving at appropriate treatment plans.
CASE REPORT(S). Our patient, Mrs. S., has Retinitis Pigmentosa. She has made it quite clear that she does not want us to discuss her condition with her family or anyone else. Her daughter is also our patient and is considering starting a family. This case study illustrates various ethical dilemmas when confidentiality is in opposition to the possible well being of either another individual or an unborn child.
CONCLUSIONS. The complexity of today's health care demands that the doctor be fair not only to the patient but must also consider the rights of others, including the patient's family, third party payers and the needs of society. In addition, the doctor also has rights, which should be part of the therapeutic equation. The case study presented in this poster addresses the four basic fundamental principles of beneficence, non-maleficence, justice and autonomy and their relevance to applying these general ethical principles to one's patient care.