Health Care Policy, Law, and Ethics
Dr. Matthew Caines
Lauren N. Hairston
March 9, 2012
You are the manager of the Cancer Center in a small suburban hospital. For the past two weeks you have worked closely with your nursing staff because they have been expressing “Burn Out” (frustration, dissatisfaction, or lack of interest in a job) as a result of the increase in the number of patients coming to the center who were diagnosed with terminal cancer. Nancy Nurse confided in you that she is particularly saddened about the rapid decline in Mrs. Jones’ health, a 30 year old single mother. She decided that the next time Mrs. Jones comes in for her treatment; she is going to give her an extra dose of a narcotic that could potential end her life. 1. Explain how the patient Bill of Rights applies to this case. The patient bill of rights applies to the case in the patients’ “right to be given by his healthcare providers information concerning diagnosis, planned course of treatment, alternatives, risks and prognosis (Showalter 2008).” It seemed that Nurse Nancy was going to administer the extra dose of a narcotic without Mrs. Jones even knowing it. The scenario does not state that Mrs. Jones was going to be aware of the extra dose that could potentially end her life. This would mean that Mrs. Jones’ patient bill of rights was violated because she was not informed on the planned course of treatment being doubled which could result in the end of her life. Another patient bill of rights that applies to this case is “the right to refuse treatment, except as otherwise provided by law (http://www.aha.org/default.html).” This right is being violated because Mrs. Jones is not aware of the intended treatment from the nurse because she has not been informed about it thus she does not have to opportunity to refuse treatment. Even though Mrs. Jones’ health is deteriorating she is a single mother and I am sure that even though she may be in pain most of the time that she wants to spend all the time she has left with her children and would not want to end her life earlier than what it is meant to be. 2. Identify and explain at least three ethical considerations. The first ethical consideration is that Nurse Nancy is committing murder. The scenario does not state that Mrs. Jones asked to be injected with something to help end her suffering. It seems that Nurse Nancy has decided for herself that she was going to help end Mrs. Jones’ suffering by her own choice because she is saddened by her situation. The second ethical consideration is from my stand point as the centers’ manager. We as healthcare providers do not have the right to play GOD. Even if Mrs. Jones did ask for help in ending her suffering, healthcare providers under no circumstances are to assist in a patient’s suicide attempt. “For example, an 85-year-old resident of a nursing home was suffering from multiple ailments and deterioration health. Although the resident, a former college president, did not have a terminal illness, he was very discouraged about his future and decided to hasten his death by fasting. A court found that the man was competent and had the right to refuse food and that the nursing home was neither obligated nor authorized to force-feed him. The man was permitted to die of starvation (Showalter 2008).” In this case the courts made the decision for the man to commit suicide via starvation; in no way did any of the healthcare staff take part by assisting in his suicide. Another ethical consideration is the fact the Nurse Nancy took it upon herself to make the decision to potentially kill Mrs. Jones instead of seeking advice from her superior. It is unethical to make medical decisions about someone’s life without taking the opinion of other qualified professionals into consideration. The fact that Nurse Nancy is just that, a nurse, and not a physician causes the situation to prove to be even...