Critiquing Ratios Hcs/405

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Ethics Case Study
Jerry McCall is Dr. Williams’ office assistant. He has received professional training as both a medical assistant and a LPN. He is handling all the phone calls while the receptionist is at lunch. A patient calls and says he must have a prescription refill for Valium, an antidepressant medication, called in right away to his pharmacy, since he is leaving for the airport in thirty minutes. He says that Dr. Williams is a personal friend and always gives him a small supply of Valium when he has to fly. No one except Jerry is in the office at this time. What should he do?

Does Jerry’s medical training qualify him to issue this refill order? Why or why not? *
Would it make a difference if the medication requested were for control of high blood pressure that the patient critically needs on a daily basis? Why or why not? *
If Jerry calls in the refill and the patient has an adverse reaction while flying, is Jerry protected from a lawsuit under the doctrine of respondent superior? *
What is your advice to Jerry?
Identify major legal and ethical issues that may affect Jerry’s decision. *
What problem-solving methods might be helpful to assist in making an ethical decision?

The ethics involved in this particular case are disproportioned because Jerry is neither a doctor nor a nurse practitioner. His line of neither work nor medical training qualifies him to prescribe medication to a patient. Even though the patient professes to be a personal friend of the doctor, he is not privileged to make that decision. Additionally, it would not matter if the medication was simply a blood pressure medication. Whether it is friend of the doctor or not Jerry is required to refer the patient’s request to the doctor in charge, especially because he is the only one in the office.

According to the American Nurses Association (ANA) website, Licensed Practical Nurses (LPN) cannot prescribe medication under any circumstances,...
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