Social Issues

Topics: Ethics, Medicine, Health care provider Pages: 16 (3386 words) Published: June 16, 2014
Professional values, ethics and law
This assignment will discuss the ethical, legal and professional issues relating to medical practice. Doctors and Nurses are often faced with legal, professional and ethical issues relating to health care. This assignment will also look into ethical and legal aspects in relation to issues of human rights and consent. There are many laws and legislations that protect patient’s rights, such as common law, Human Rights Act 1998, Mental Health Act 2007, and Mental Capacity Act 2005. Case study one (1) has been chosen for this assignment, which is about Sara B who is forty two (42) years old woman, who has been diagnosed with multiple Sclerosis. She is in neurological ward for test as her condition has deteriorated over the last twelve months, resulting in her using a wheelchair and in need of considerable nursing input from her partner Louise. It was discovered that the doctors had put a ‘Do Not Resuscitate’ (DNR) note in her file. Neither Sara nor Louise is aware of this. From an ethical perspective, ethical values: utilitarianism, deontology and virtue ethics will be discussed relating to the case study. The four ethical principles in relation to this case study will also be discussed. These principles are autonomy, beneficence, non-maleficence and justice. There are a number of professional issues around the case study in question that will be addressed. These issues are mainly around the four main principles of the Nursing and Midwifery Council codes of conduct (2008).These principles are; Prioritising the care of the patients and treating them as individuals whilst respecting their dignity Working closely with colleagues to protect and promote the health and wellbeing of the patients, their families, carers, and the wider society Providing consistently high standards of practice and care, being open and honest, acting with integrity and maintaining the reputation of the nursing profession

Legal issues arising from the case study such as confidentiality, consent, accountability, duty of care, negligence and human right will be discussed. I will conclude with a reflection based on the Gibbs’ model and highlight insights developed from the case study and they could be how they into practice. Also in the conclusion learning needs for future developments will be identified. Ethical Perspective of Sara B’s Case Study

Ethics is the discipline that deals with rightness and wrongness of actions. (Aiken 2004) Ethics also is concerned with duties, responsibilities, principles and accepted wisdom. (Hawley, 2007). The two most commonly applied ethical theories are utilitarianism and deontology (Shaun D. Pattison, 2009). Utilitarianism theory is concerned with repercussions of behaviour; it seeks to favour the majority. As it suggests, utilitarian theory seeks to have the best possible balance of utility over disutility of the matters at hand. It is more concerned with getting the best for the greatest number. According to utilitarianism theory, it is essential for one to have the full and adequate information of all the possible consequences related to their acts as well as all the probable consequences of every other action that is equally available at that moment. The utilitarianism theory can be useful in analysing Sara B’s case in relation to the doctor’s action of assigning a ‘Do not Resuscitate’ note in Sara’s file without her consent. As the theory states, it is important for all medical practitioners to have full knowledge of the consequences of their acts, thus in this case, the doctor and/ or the hospital are likely to face consequences of the doctor’s actions of acting without consent of the patient. The doctor’s act should have applied with this theory in mind. Deontology on the other hand, doesn’t look at the consequences, but rather it is rules, right-based and duty based (Shaun D. Pattison, 2009). Unlike utilitarianism theory which looks at what is best for...

References: Beauchamp, T.L and Childress, J.F. (2009) Principles of biomedical ethics. (6th) ed. New York: Oxford University Press.
Dimond, B. (2009) Legal aspects of nursing. (2nd Ed). London. Quay Books.
Fletcher, N. &Holt, J. (1995) Ethics Law and Nursing. Manchester. Manchester University Press.
Fry, T., Veatch, M. & Taylor, C. (2011) Case Studies in Nursing Ethics (4th Ed). Canada.Jones and Bartlett Learning.
Hawley, G. (2007) Ethics in Clinical Practice. Essex. Pearson Education ltd
Hendrick, J
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