End of Life Ethical Issues

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In this workshop activity, you are required to investigate and report on ONE ethical principle as it is demonstrated in a case study situation, then review and assess the reports prepared by your fellow students.Read the case studies below and decide which ethical principles are involved in each situation: (a) describe the principle

Principle of Respect for Autonomy
The Webster dictionary (2002) defines Autonomy as
“personal rule of the self that is free from both controlling interferences by others and from personal limitations that prevent meaningful choice.” And in keeping with this definition we, as registered nurses, must respect the right for individuals to act intentionally, with understanding, and without controlling influences to their free will. (b) explain how it applies in the case study situation

The difficulties, and moral dilemma’s, that are encountered in making “end of life” verves “quality of life” decisions involved in situations like Edward Biltons should always be related to the principal of respect for autonomy, when the patient has competently made their own choices. The ICU nursing staff and Mr Bilton’s parents need to accept and acknowledge that Edward has made his own choices based on his own values and belief systems. As health care professionals that will experience similar situations to this, it is important to not have own morals and beliefs influence our patients’ decisions about their care. In the health care environment, an individuals’ autonomy is applied through obtaining informed consent. It could be argued that he has not formally withdrawn consent for treatment as he is unable to communicate at this stage, but his living will sets out that in the event of an accident he does not wish to be artificially kept alive should he be fully dependent and disabled . Clearly this dependence and disability is evident in the fact that despite he should regain consciousness, he will be severely neurologically impaired. (c) offer...
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