A case of euthanasia can be described as one that is extremelydelicate, subjective, sensitive and controversial. The case studypresented to the Colorado Board of Nursing evokes emotionallydevastating feelings (Mishara, & Weisstub, 2013). The nurses hada good intention by seeking an alternative route they couldadminister the injection to the baby without inflicting pain.Unfortunately, the consequence of their action was death of thenewborn whom they were trying to protect from pain of intramuscularadministration of the penicillin. It is traumatic because the demiseof the infant was not their intention but to reduce the pain theywere suffering.
The courts should have taken into considered that nurses wereavoiding to cause pain to the newborn. They were acting in good faithwith the aim of ensuring they give the quality newborn care withminimum pain. Further, the courts ought to have considered that therewas no ill motive in the decision that the nurses took. The death ofthe newborn occurred because of the mistake committed by thepharmacists and not the nurses. The events leading to intramuscularinjection of the drug to the infant was carefully thought out by thenurses. As illustrated in the case study, nurses decided to consultthe pharmacological references for the possibility of drugadministration with minimal pain. It is unfortunate that the newbornpassed on despite the good intention of the nurses.
Law enforcement officers have found themselves in a similar statewhere unintentional errors result in significant legal implications.For example, a case when officers are involved in a fierce shootoutwith criminals holding innocent civilians hostage. In pursuit of thecriminals, the officers could find themselves engaging in an exchangeof fire and a hostage is killed in the process. The deceased’sfamily could decide to sue them for failing to protect their lovedone. Evidently in the scenario, the officer did not intend to shootthe hostage. It was unfortunate that the civilian was caught incrossfire hence the tragic incident.
The nursing profession should implement policies that guide on how todeal with similar cases. Proper guidelines be followed beforedecisions regarding care for patients are executed. Physicians incharge and if possible senior medical practitioners should beconsulted before initial instructions are altered. It would bepossible to eliminate cases where nurses make decisions that couldresult in legal consequences. Following the highlighted policieswould help nurses to protect themselves from prosecution. They areshielded because they were acting within policies stipulated by thehealthcare organization.
The nurses violated a section requiring that a registered nurse be incharge of activities related to the administration of drugs topatients. After determining the appropriate dosage for intramuscularinjection, the nurse delegated the duties to the pharmacist. Theeffect of the delegation was an injection of an overdose of the drugto the newborn. It was essential that the nurse takes responsibilityto administer the drugs by themselves instead of delegating to peoplewho were not qualified. The incident qualifies to be categorized asnegligence since the nurses delegated functions to an unqualifiedindividual (Croke, 2003). The pharmacist had the mandate of ensuringthat they have the right dose but not proceeding to administer thesame.
Croke, E. M. (2003).Nurses, Negligence, and Malpractice: An analysis based on more than250
cases againstnurses. AJN The American Journal of Nursing, 103(9),54-63.
Mishara, B. L., &Weisstub, D. N. (2013). Premises and evidence in the rhetoric ofassisted
suicide and euthanasia. International journal of law andpsychiatry, 36(5), 427-435.