Health Law and Ethics
February 6, 2012
Francis Mieczkowski, Jr
The Troubled Teen
This story centered on a 16 year old, Rachel, who was in labor, and accompanied to the hospital by her parents. At issue the parents were reluctant to authorize treatment or allow the nurse to provide pain medication to their daughter. Legally, the parents must authorize treatment for a child who has not reached the age of 18, but, according to Boonstra & Nash, (2000), many states “explicitly authorize a minor to make decisions about their own medical care” as it relates to pregnancy, contraceptive use, and sexually transmitted diseases to name a few (para. 1).
Nevertheless, managing the rights of the parents along with those of the adolescence is a tricky business and in this case Rachel did not wish to further alienate her parents, thus it was important to include them in Rachel’s care. The ethical issue in this case is ensuring that Rachel and baby receive necessary medical care in the delivery of her baby as painlessly as possible. This applies even if the parents refuse to authorize treatment as the nurse’s first responsibility is to her patient’s health and well-being.
The steps in determining the issues in this case involve looking at the problem objectively, determining who will most be affected by the decision made, what their rights are and ensuring that the right action is made based on hospital policy, legally, and most important what is best for the stakeholders. The decision made in this case was to contact a medical provider and chaplain, make sure Rachel is medically assessed, and that the parents are afforded the opportunity to talk to chaplaincy if desired.
Using the Baird Method for ethical decision making influenced decisions in this case by walking through all the steps and making decisions based on its impact on the participants. However, my own ethical reasoning, without using...