Ethical Issues Facing Health Care

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Ethical Issues Facing Health Care Paper

Surgery has become commonplace in hospitals around the world. Even the smallest of hospitals have at least one operating room. Surgeons operate in theses operating room. They operate on all types of people. From other doctors to high school dropouts, the opportunity for surgery does not take into account the amount of education a patient has obtained. Before any surgery occurs consent must be obtained. Consent is usually in the form of a preprinted letter with a spot to handwrite the name of the procedure to be preformed. Once presented to the patient they are expected to sign on the dotted line which gives permission for the procedure to be completed. The ethical dilemma with this process is the consent is to be informed. Merck (2006) wrote "consent becomes informed when the person has the ability to understand and ultimately does understand the potential benefits and risks of his decision and the alternatives to the choice he is making. When a person gives consent, the doctor and all other health care practitioners are then legally and ethically obligated to abide by the conditions of the consent agreement. Their obligation ends only if the person later withdraws or modifies consent."

Some patients are expected to sign the consent even before they have met the surgeon. In some cases nurses obtain the signed consent while trying to answer the questions the patient has. Obviously, this is not informed consent. Another dilemma is when pain medicine is withheld from a patient until they sign the consent. The medicine is withheld so the patient will not be under the influence of narcotics when they are consented. Unfortunately, the patient my feel pressured to sign the consent without asking any questions so they can get the medicine to help their pain. Van Norman (1998) wrote "It is common to encounter patients who have received sedation and/or pain medication prior to coming to surgery, and it is also common for...
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