Life in the emergency room is can be fast paced, with decisions made by healthcare professionals who need to consider the basic ethical principles of non-maleficence, beneficence, autonomy and justice. These principles are resources designed and intended to provide a comprehensive understanding, guidance and rules of conduct to ensure an ethical and legal decision is made, regardless of the medical staffs subjective view of what is right and wrong (Tong, 2007, p. 7) Ethics are rules of conduct and moral principles of an individual which have various origins such as family, culture, and social environment. Given the diversity of people in the healthcare profession and the importance of providing care that is ethically sound and within legal bounds, it is necessary to have standard of care guidelines that outline healthcare ethics. “The goal of health care ethics is to provide health care professionals with moral guidelines that any rational person would recognize as worthy ones to follow” (Tong, 2007, p.6). There are five guidelines in selecting which principle to follow in cases that are hard to make a determination (Tong, 2007, p. 31). The first is that there are better reasons that can be offered to act on the overriding norm than on the infringed norm (Tong, 2007, p. 31). In the case of the Armando Dimas the initial assumption and conclusion of the neurosurgeon on call was the patient “should be dead” (Tong, 2007, p. 31). The immediate assumption and decision of hospital authorities had already listed the patient as a potential organ donor, based on the neurosurgeons preliminary examination. Armando’s rights were already being encroached upon as soon as he was presumed dead before he actually was. However, after attempts were made to resuscitate Armando he regained consciousness and was put on a ventilator for life support. The medical staff also acted paternalistically rather than beneficently by making an assumption that Armando would ask...
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