Medical EthicsSocial Media

A Challenge of Ethics on Facebook

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Ben Dillon has posted on a truly difficult ethical situation shares the story on GeoVoices. It involves a mom who blogs on the challenges of raising a child with a genetic defect and this naturally attracts a sympathetic and motivated following.  

Ben Dillon has posted on a truly difficult ethical situation shares the story on GeoVoices. It involves a mom who blogs on the challenges of raising a child with a genetic defect and this naturally attracts a sympathetic and motivated following.  

The mom’s posts include her disappointment over being told hospital nephrologists have denied a kidney transplant for her 3 y.o. daughter, because of her genetic defect – which is also known to cause mental retardation.  We don’t know the actual reason for the denial, but the family believes it is because of the child’s mental retardation and this is shared in the mom’s blog posts and it ultimately made it’s way to traditional media, including the Washington Times.
 
The result is that the hospital’s Facebook wall now includes passionate pleas to reconsider the decision. Like Ben, I believe Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) is appropriate in their handling of the social media aspects of this truly unfortunate situation.  It should be a guide to others.
  • CHOP is carefully avoiding any discussion of the patient’s case or health situation and remains respectful of the opinions and feelings of everyone engaged in the discussion.
  • They appear to be leaving all visitor posts on their page – the good and the uncomfortable.
  • CHOP has issued a statement acknowledging that they are listening and reiterating their policies, values and history as relates to this issue. 
  • CHOP and the family have issued a joint statement on Facebook as a result of the significant public interest.
  • The organization is discussing the issue with the family offline.

 Let’s all say a prayer for the child and her family!

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