Ethical Considerations Project
Read the assigned article, “Informed Consent for Emergency Contraception: Variability in Hospital Care of Rape Victims.”
Review the Brownfield v. Daniel Freeman Marina Hospital case summary. (Below)
Review Essay Requirements. (Below)
Brownfield v. Daniel Freeman Marina Hospital
Ascension Health (2007) Brownfield v. Daniel Freeman Marina Hospital. Retrieved November 28, 2008 from
In this 1989 federal appellate court case, the plaintiff was taken to Freeman Hospital’s emergency room after being raped. In response to the patient’s request for information about the morning-after pill, the hospital authorities refused to provide such information, believing that they could not, on the grounds that it was a Catholic hospital. Specifically, the hospital did not inform the patient that if she wanted such treatment it must be obtained within 72 hours to be effective. The court reasoned that a patient has the right to make her own decisions regarding treatment, and therefore, adequate disclosure of information must be provided so the patient can make an informed decision. The court concluded that a rape victim who is denied information about access to the morning-after pill may bring a medical malpractice action. This means that liability may arise if the patient can show: 1) that a skilled practitioner would have provided such information and access under similar circumstances; 2) that she would have elected such treatment; and 3) that “damages” (in this case, pregnancy) resulted from the failure to provide such information. In a footnote to its decision, the court indicated that “access” to such treatment could include transfer of the patient to another medical facility or another physician.