Sentry Page Protection
Ethical Scenario 23
What would you do if a woman with two children came to you and asked for a tubal ligation (fertility management); she requests that you do not inform her husband.
Assuming you have no moral objection to the treatment itself, and the patient has capacity to consent to treatment, then there is no reason not to follower her instructions. However, it is surely worth exploring why she doesn’t want to inform her husband of this serious decision. It might also be worth exploring alternatives, like the contraceptive implant or a contraceptive pill, to see if these could solve the issue without rendering her permanently infertile.
You’d also have to to inform the patient that you won’t be able to lie to her husband, although you can choose to withhold information. Therefore if her husband asks if she’s healthy and unable to have children, your response would be that you’re unable to discuss that without permission.
This is a seemingly complex situation, but in reality the answer is fairly simple. The patient’s right to privacy comes first here.