How DNR Causes an Ethical Dilemma
HCA 322, Health Care Ethics and Medical Law
Dr. David Cole
January 22, 2010
Abstract This paper will present an argument of how the process of do not resuscitate (DNR) results in an ethical dilemma for workers in the healthcare field. In presenting the argument, this paper will also address the following three course learning objectives: 1) explain the legal rights of individuals as they interact with health care services, 2) analyze the monitoring systems that ensure human rights, legal aspects, and quality health care, and 3) analyze selected ethical and legal case studies that have promulgated precedent setting decisions.
How DNR Causes and Ethical Dilemma Ethical dilemmas occur in healthcare when healthcare workers have to choose from among two or more acceptable courses of action or having to choose between equally unacceptable alternatives. Healthcare workers are often placed in the position of having to incorporate their own moral reasoning in order to resolve ethical dilemmas. Advances in medical technology and treatment have allowed healthcare workers to be able to artificially prolong and preserve life. However, patients may put healthcare workers at risk of ethical dilemma by refusing care or treatment, even though these patients have the right to do so. A popular legal issue that places healthcare workers at risk of ethical dilemma is the process of do not resuscitate or DNR. “A do-not-resuscitate (DNR) order is a written medical order that documents a patient’s wishes regarding resuscitation and, more specifically, the patient’s desire to avoid cardiopulmonary resuscitation “CPR”. (Payne & Thornlow, 2008, 11). DNR is one of the most important patient...