Communication Ethics and Health


Image via GW

When I think back to 2009, I think about October, when I was in my sophomore year of high school. I was in basketball practice, and while I was performing a drill, I bent and turned my knee at the same time. Which cause me to tear the meniscus in my knee. Of course….that was the end of my basketball season.

In December of 2009, I had surgery to repair my meniscus. I had to wear a knee brace for over six weeks, walk with crutches for over four weeks, and have two months of physical therapy to make a full recovery from the surgery. Communication Ethics Literacy Dialogue and Differences states the goal of health care communication ethics is to protect and promote a sense of gratitude and knowledge of a final freedom, which is our response to health, its absence, and the eventuality of death (Arnett, R., Bell, L., & Fritz, J., 2009, p. 194). While others around me were visiting and showing support for what I was going through, I had to my find my final freedom… responsiveness.

To engage health care communication ethics, one looks for ways to respond to the illness in the larger context of a life, not just for answers to “fix” ill health (Arnett, R., Bell, L., & Fritz, J., 2009, p. 195). Therefore, instead of feeling sorry for myself about how I had to attend physical therapy three times a week after school or about how I could not play in what I thought would be my breakout basketball season…..I found the good. The good was even though I had to attend therapy, I was able get my knee stronger than ever. Stronger for the next basketball. Then, after therapy, once I fully recovered, I had a story to tell. A story that could possibly help others who were going through the same things I went through.

To be human is to care, the labor of care is a necessity of our identity (Arnett, R., Bell, L., & Fritz, J., 2009, p. 200). Three weeks after I had surgery, I had to go back to school. For the three weeks that I had to remained on crutches, my cousin picked me up, drove me to school every morning, and he took me home on the afternoon I didn’t have therapy. While I was at school, he carried my books to my classes, at lunch he even took time to carry my lunch tray to my table. Health care communication ethics finds responsiveness in a sense of “why” that gives one a reason to bear the “how”  (Arnett, R., Bell, L., & Fritz, J., 2009, p. 201). I’m sure my cousin asked himself why he felt the need to help me, then he realized that I couldn’t do it alone. He took time out of his day and time away from his friends to help.

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Health care communicative ethics work with our final freedom, whether in practice or in final moments of a life, keeping before us the importance of our response (Arnett, R., Bell, L., & Fritz, J., 2009, p. 199). I found the importance of my response and my cousin very well showed labor of care.



Arnett, R., Bell, L., & Fritz, J. (2009). Communication Ethics Literacy (10th ed.). SAGE Publications, Inc. (ISBN-13: 978-1412942140).



Author: Dekira Hemingway

Twenty-three | Travel Addict | Queens University of Charlotte graduate student

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