2-17. THE ETHICAL INTEGRITY OF THE HEALTH CARE PROFESSION
The state interest in maintaining the ethical integrity of the profession means that
hospitals should have the opportunity to care for patients that have been admitted, no
matter what the wishes of the patient.
ethical integrity of the health care profession: the medical profession's right
to act affirmatively to save lives without fear of civil liability.
Consider the case of Ms. Bouvia, a competent, non-terminal young woman, suffering
from cerebral palsy, who refused forced feeding. The court initially ruled that her right to
privacy was outweighed by society's interest in preserving her life and in preserving the
ethical integrity of the profession. Some courts have found that the patient's right to
privacy is superior to professional and institutional concerns. Other courts have
concluded that honoring the wishes of the patient or the patient's representative is
consistent with health care ethics, so there is no conflict between professional integrity
and honoring the patient's wishes.
SEXUALLY TRANSMITTED DISEASE TREATMENT FOR PROSTITUTES
In Reynolds vs. McNichols (Colorado,1973), the court upheld a Denver ordinance
requiring prostitutes to accept treatment for sexually transmitted diseases (STDs).