Jerry McCall- Ethical Case Study
Sandra D. Zieger
December 22, 2014
Beryl Keegan Instructor
Jerry McCall- Ethical Case Study
This is the case of Jerry McCall who works in a doctor’s office as an office assistant. He has professional training for medical assistant and a LPN. While handling the phones during lunch, he receives a call from a patient that is requesting a refill for his Valium called to his local pharmacy right away as he is flying out in thirty minutes. The patient states he is a personal friend of Dr. Williams and he always supplies him with a small amount of Valium when he fly’s. Jerry is alone in the office, the question is, Should Jerry call in this prescription and why or why not (Fremgen, 2009) The answer is no and this paper will explain why he is not professionally qualified to do this. Although Jerry does have training as a Licensed Practical Nurse, he is working in the office of Dr. Williams as an office assistant. An office assistant cannot and should not call in refills for a patient. We do not know if Jerry has a license to practice as a Licensed Practical Nurse in this scenario. Even if he does have his license, he is not working in this office under that license. A health care professional shall have the certifications and qualifications prior to ordering or refilling medications for patients (Fremgen, 2009). Licensed Practical Nurses are mandated by state regulations and the Board of Nursing as to which duties they are able to preform in their scope of practice ("National Council for State Board of Nursing," 2000). The National Association of Boards of Pharmacy states that Registered Nurses or Licensed Practical Nurses are not able to make the decision to renew prescriptions. If the doctor gives the order to refill the prescriptions, the refill can be called in over the phone or refilled by using refill authorization sheets (National Association of Boards of Pharmacy, 2010). Given this information, Jerry is not qualified to call in this prescription for Valium. Another reason he cannot and should not is, Dr. Williams is not in the office to agree to the refill. Regardless of which type of medication, Jerry is not qualified to refill this prescription. The doctor would still have to authorize the refill prior to it being called in. Fregman, 2009, states, “Under the doctrine of respondent superior, or let the master answer, the employer is liable for the consequences of the employee’s actions committed in the scope of employment. The employer may not have done anything wrong, yet still is liable” (Fremgen, 2009). With this being said, if Jerry calls in the refill and something was to happen to the patient, Jerry would not be protected from a lawsuit. Jerry would be acting outside of his scope of practice without the knowledge of the doctor. Jerry should consider the following advice. He should not call in the refill for the Valium or any other medications without the doctors’ knowledge. He would need to remind the patient about the office refill policy if they have one. Jerry should do what he can to notify Dr. Williams of the need. Jerry would need to tell the patient he is not legally able to call in this prescription without the knowledge and authorization of Dr Williams. Jerry needs to be sure he understands what his scope of practice allows him to do so he does not put himself or Dr. Williams in a situation where they could be sued. There could be several legal and ethical issues that should affect Jerry’s decision to call in the refill for this patient. If Jerry decides to call in this prescription for Dr. Williams’s friend, he could loose his nursing license if he has one at this point. If he does not, he may not be able to get one. This would take away his career as a nurse. If Dr. Williams was to be sued, it could affect him not only financially but also damage his reputation. It has been reported that many physicians will...
References: Fremgen, B. F. (2009). Medical Law and Ethics (3rd ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Prentice.
Kevin, T. (2011). Being sued for Malpractice, for doctors it 's personal. Retrieved from http://www.kevinmd.com/blog/2009/01/being-sued-for-malpractice-for-doctors.html
National Association of Boards of Pharmacy. (2010). Vermont Board of Pharmacy. Retrieved from http://nabp.net
National Council for State Board of Nursing. (2000. January). Journal of Nursing Administration, 2(31), 55-59. Retrieved from http://www.ncsbn.org/Nursing_Education_Policy/
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