- During a routine medical check, an infantry soldier shows early signs of noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL). Although he can still hear sufficiently in order to perform his duties, the hearing loss may over time progress if he is exposed to further noise. It is not possible to protect his hearing sufficiently during the job and he does not have the necessary skills to move to another Army corps where he would be exposed to less noise.
- If he does continue his current job, he might continue to lose hearing and combined with age related loss this may become quite disabling. If the Army lets him continue it is likely that they might have to pay a medical pension when he leaves, give compensation for hearing loss and he may be able to claim a social security benefit for “industrial injury”.
- The soldier does not want the doctor to tell anybody about his problem.
- NB: Although the doctor does not make the decision on continued employment, he knows that if he advises “no noise exposure”a decision to discharge will almost certainly ensue.
Source: Report from Course Participant
Questions for the discussion of this scenario
Should the doctor report the medical condition (i) immediately or (ii) later? Or should he respect the wish for medical confidentiality?
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