Navigating Ethical Dilemmas in Healthcare: A Case Study

Ethical Dilemmas in Healthcare


In the field of healthcare, professionals often encounter challenging situations where their personal beliefs may conflict with the needs and requests of their patients. In this blog post, we will explore an ethical scenario involving Dr. Huda, a Muslim Saudi resident, and discuss the moral choices she faced. We will delve into the considerations she made and the potential implications of her actions.

Medical ethics
conflicts of interest in healthcare. In addition, medical ethics and culture are interconnected as different cultures implement ethical values differently

Ethical Scenario:

Dr. Huda, while doing her rotation in a women’s hospital in Toronto, Canada, was asked by her consultant to see a 16-year-old unmarried patient who was living with her boyfriend. The patient sought advice on contraception methods and the safest way to arrange an abortion, should the contraception fail. Dr. Huda, adhering to her religious beliefs which prohibit premarital sexual relations and certain forms of abortion, felt uncomfortable and unsure of how to proceed.

Moral Choices:

  1. Respecting Patient Autonomy: Dr. Huda could have chosen to prioritize the patient’s autonomy and discuss contraception methods while acknowledging her own beliefs.
  2. Maintaining Professional Boundaries: Dr. Huda chose to inform the patient that she couldn’t provide the requested advice, respecting her personal religious beliefs and professional responsibilities.
  3. Seeking Consultation: Dr. Huda suggested the patient schedule another appointment with the consultant who may be more equipped to address her concerns comprehensively.
  4. Referring to Another Provider: Dr. Huda could have considered referring the patient to another healthcare provider who could better address her needs without conflicting with her own religious beliefs.

Patient Complaint:

The patient has the right to voice her concerns or file a complaint if she feels her needs were not adequately addressed or if she believes she was treated unfairly. However, it is important to consider the context of the situation. Dr. Huda acted in accordance with her religious beliefs and attempted to handle the situation respectfully by suggesting another appointment with a more suitable healthcare provider.


Ethical dilemmas in healthcare can be complex, especially when personal beliefs clash with professional responsibilities. Dr. Huda’s case highlights the importance of maintaining professional boundaries while respecting patients’ autonomy and religious considerations. By navigating this scenario with care and sensitivity, healthcare professionals can strive to provide appropriate care while acknowledging their own limitations.

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