Team A Nursing 391
March 19, 2012
Legal and Ethical Issues Involving Two Case Studies
The nursing code of ethics lays out nonnegotiable standards of moral and ethical behavior in providing nursing care to society. “Nursing encompasses the prevention of illness, the alleviation of suffering, and the protection, promotion, and restoration of health in the care of individuals, families, groups and communities” (American Nurses Association, 2010). The following paper investigates the legal and ethical issues of two case studies. Case study one involves a comatose patient, Marianne, without advanced directives leaving the spouse to make health care decisions and children with differing opinions (Chitty & Black, 2011, p.175). Case study two concerns a nurse called to testify in a malpractice suit against a negligent colleague and health care institution, of which the testifying nurse is employed by. (Blais & Hayes, 2011, p.88) In both case studies, the nurse’s duty is to the patient, outlined in provision two of American Nurses Association code of ethics. For case study two, provision two, section 2.4 outlines nurses are to maintain professional boundaries while acting as the patient’s advocate. In provision one, section 1.5 the nurse is to treat his or her colleagues with respect and compassion regardless of one’s actions against another. The nurse has an ethical and moral obligation to report acts of unethical, illegal or harm of the patient to the employer as well as the state board of nursing, nurse practice acts committee. The nurse deposed should have reported the nurse in question to the practice committee of the professional organization. This nurse failed to protect any patients the nurse in question cared for. In case study one, the nurse providing care to Marianne falls under provision two, sections 2.1, 2.2, and 2.3. The nurse must provide continually care to the patient and family, be supportive of the family in his or her decisions. In the collaboration of the ethics committee during decision making, a mutual trust, respect, and recognition must be present for the best outcome of the patient. The nurse’s duties is to ensure all involved have a voice in the decision- making of patient care and can make an informed decision. To prevent any conflict of interest “Nurses must examine the conflicts arising between their own personal and professional values, the values and interests of others who are also responsible for patient care and health care decisions, as well as those of the patient” (American Nurses Association, 2010). By examining personal and professional conflicts the nurse will serve their patients better by guarding his or her patients’ safety and best interests while preserving their integrity as a nurse. In society today one’s opinion seems to carry weight no matter what the issue is regarding. In the healthcare profession, moral and ethical issues as it pertains to end of life decision making and legal accountability seems always to spark interesting conversations among the public. Just as there are billions of people in the world today there are just as many opinions. In the first situation regarding Marianne, her husband, and children there is an ethical dilemma of what is the “right” thing to do for Marianne. In a situation such as this one would hope to uphold the values and beliefs of the effected individual. Values frequently derive from a person’s cultural, ethnic, and religious background, from societal traditions, and from the values held by peer group and family (Blais & Hayes, 2011, Chapter 4). Because Marianne does not have a living will or healthcare power of attorney in place the decision of her healthcare and what to do is left up to her husband with the input of his or her children. Given her immediate condition society may look at her chances and say just let her be at peace and whatever...