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An Ethical Dilemma


An ethical dilemma exists when the right thing to do is not clear or when members of the health care team cannot agree on the right thing to do (Potter, Perry, Stockert, & Hall, 2011). S.Z. is a 65-year-old Hispanic man who was admitted to the hospital for the third time in 6 months, for hyperglycemia. He is now scheduled to be discharged but his daughter pleads with the nurse that she does not want her father discharged because he is non-complaint with his medications and diet at home. She says she has small children at home and can’t be responsible for him, too. She is worried sick that he is doing this on purpose because he has been so depressed since her mother, who did everything for him, passed away. She says that her father has been seeing a curanderos, who treats him with traditional methods and that he refuses to take his medicine and only follows what the curanderos tells him to do. She does not agree with this and confides that she hopes to find a way to prevent her father from seeing this person and wants to know if the nurse can have her father’s discharge canceled and to ask the doctor to admit him to a nursing home where they can ensure he eats right and takes his medicine and not the herbs he has been using. Then she pleads, “Please just tell the doctor he won’t take his medicine.” Many years ago he was diagnosed with Diabetes Mellitus Type II and has been on insulin for two years. His blood sugar on admission was 589. He is retired and was widowed one year ago. He’s active in his church, gardens, and likes to work on small projects around the house. His medical history includes Diabetes Mellitus Type II, insulin dependent, Hyperlipidemia, and Osteoarthritis. The three possible scenarios I came up with are 1) to discharge S.Z. from the hospital and go home, 2) to discharge S.Z. to a nursing home, and 3) to delay the discharge and have an in-depth meeting with S.Z., his daughter, his doctor,...
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