This reflective account will discuss an ethical dilemma which arose during a placement within a community setting. To assist the reflection process, the Gibbs (1988) Reflective Cycle which encompasses 6 stages; description, thoughts and feelings, evaluation, analysis, conclusion and action plan will be used which will improve and strengthen my nursing skills by continuously learning from both good and bad experiences, and develop my self confidence in relation to caring for others (Siviter 2008). To comply with the Nursing and Midwifery Code of Conduct (NMC) (2008) and maintain confidentiality all names have been changed and therefore for the purpose of this reflection the patient will be referred to as Bob. Bob is a forty four year old man who has been receiving aggressive and invasive treatment for several months in the form of chemotherapy in an attempt to cure his Hodgkinson’s lymphoma cancer. Throughout the treatment Bob remained positive that he would be able to put the worries behind him and live a ‘normal’ life with his partner and teenage daughter. However, Bob was unable to control his body temperature, which was a possible sign the chemotherapy had not been successful and was offered further investigations to establish his prognosis. Whilst my mentor who is a Community Matron, was talking to Bob, his partner Sue took me to one side and asked me if the investigations revealed bad news would it be possible to withhold this information from Bob because she felt he would not be able to deal with a poor prognosis and would give up hope. Prior to Bob’s original admission the possibility of f the chemotherapy failing was discussed but he refused to consider this was an option and was convinced the condition could be treated successfully. I explained to Sue that this situation was outside of my area of expertise but with her permission would discuss it with my mentor and ask her to contact Sue at a mutually convenient time to discuss further. My mentor contacted Sue and advised her that she would discuss the situation with Bob’s Consultant once they had received the results of his tests. However, my mentor diplomatically informed Sue that she has no legal right to insist that information be kept from Robert (Dimond 2005). As expected Bob’s test results concluded the chemotherapy treatment was unsuccessful. Considering what he knew of Bob, the consultant agreed it would be advantageous to withhold the diagnosis from him. Therefore it was agreed to discuss Bob’s test results with his partner. Thoughts and feelings
In the first instance I felt that the Consultant was ethically wrong to withhold the results of the investigations from Bob and not necessarily acting in his best interests. I felt that in order to ensure Bob’s rights were protected and to give him the opportunity to be involved in his own plan of care he should be informed of the outcome of the tests. Bob had the capacity to consent and as during my placement would be acting as an advocate for him. I felt that if I was in Bob’s position, I would want to know what the outcome of any investigations were and it did not seen right that the diagnosis would be documented in his records and his family and possibly friends around him would be aware of his diagnosis whilst he was kept in the dark. I felt that if we were to visit on a regular basis that I would feel very uncomfortable knowing something that had been kept from him and possibly have to lie to him or avoid answering directly when asked difficult questions. I also felt that his family were taking away his freedom to make an informed choice about his forthcoming care. Analysis
Barbosa da Silva (2002) defines an ethical dilemma as:
‘A situation where a person experiences a conflict where he or she is obliged to perform two or more duties, but realizes that whoever action he or she chooses will be an ethically wrong one’. Kuupelomaki and Lauri (1998) and Roy and MacDonald (1998) agree that health...