An ethical dilemma is the conflict that arises between doing what pertains to a patient’s freedom and doing what will favor others. Doing what favors and benefits another person is guided by the principle of beneficence. The medical practitioner must also be careful not to harm anyone in the process by applying the principle of nonmaleficence. The other principles that guide healthcare professionals include telling the truth or veracity, always being fair to all the parties involved in a dilemma or justice, treating any information as private and confidential and not disclosing such information to anyone unless otherwise specified by law.
Professionals must also practice within their areas of specialization or role fidelity. The above principles are the guidelines that should be used when a conflicting situation presents itself and two or more parties are competing. They help the healthcare personnel to decide what is morally good or bad when a difficult decision needs to be made. (www. medscape. com) When analyzing the above dilemma the supervisor first of all needs to interpret the underlying circumstances and critically look at the possible moral violations that might arise.
The supervisor is then guided by the earlier mentioned principles to arrive at a fair judgment on what to do. After analyzing the dilemma in light of the principles, the supervisor should do the right thing even though one or more of the principles may compete for attention. One value with the most weight in terms of morality determines the necessary course of action. The supervisor should finally execute the necessary judgment without hesitation and be confident that it was for the general good of all the competing parties. (Rest, 1982, p. 29)
There are ethical principles that were put forward by Thiroux as guidelines that can help the supervisor in behaving in an ethical manner. Human life should be treated with utmost sanctity and in no circumstance should it be taken away by another human being in innocence. All decisions that are made should also be of benefit to the majority. It is however advisable to be careful when telling the truth because determining who has the right to know it is not easy. Finally a patient’s autonomy should not be ignored. Their should be boundaries as to when the patient should have an upper hand and when others can make decisions on his behalf.
(Goodwin, 1985, p. 7). The above incident is a typical example of the ethical and dilemma that occurs in clinics. The three concerned parties include the supervisor, Alex and the patient. Alex acted partenistically by going a head to perform an ex-ray without first explaining to the patient that he might experience extreme pain during the procedure. The patient’s autonomy was also bridged because he did not have the opportunity to choose which doctor should perform the ex-ray on him and that is why he landed in the inexperienced hands of an intern. Disclosing to the patient that Alex was an intern was not in the best interest of the majority.
The supervisor’s presence in the room was a positive indicator that just incase anything went wrong, his expertise would come in handy. The supervisor applied the prima facie principle of nonmaleficence whereby his actions were protecting everybody from harm. By not revealing that Alex was an intern to the patient, he was protecting the hospitals name and the entire medical fraternity against being accused of incompetence and lose the trust of their patients. The supervisor was not however just to the patient by withholding such crucial information that could have made him make an informed choice.
The patient was unjustly used as a means to an end by serving as a practical training dummy for the intern who was trying his medical skills in the emergency room. As a result the patient ended up feeling unnecessary pain. In general, it can be quite challenging to make an appropriate decision when dealing with such a dilemma without any part losing or suffering some sort of injustice. However, the applications of the prima facie principles give a green light as to who should carry the day. Project two. The healthcare industry has got many aspects that can be political, sociological, economic or legal in nature.
When dealing with the political aspect, both medical practitioners and patients have a role to play. Their views concerning proper healthcare policies should be taken into account without ignoring either party. The policies that are influenced by politics in the health sector should endeavor to promote a properly functional healthcare system that meets the citizens’ needs in totality. This means that medical care should be provided in away that is fair, just and maintains the respect of both parties involved. Aspects that are related to the economy are very crucial because the healthcare industry is basically driven by the economy.
The economic standards of citizens determine what kind of healthcare they can afford and the government’s resources that are available to provide subsidized healthcare to them. The market trend also affects the kind of drugs that patients can access and afford to buy. In the health care industry, patients are usually the consumers of medical services and should therefore have a stake in deciding what they prefer. The government’s role is therefore to ensure that affordable medical care is accessed by its citizens. In line with healthcare, there are various ethical issues that are often a challenge to patients and medical practitioners.
Patients are often worried whether the healthcare provides who are attending to them are competent enough or they are putting their lives at risk and whether their medical problems will be treated as a private matter. They also desire to have a say in their treatment but it is not always a guarantee that it will be granted because the doctor’s say is what matters most. (ethicsjournal. umc. edu) Accountability is a very important aspect in the medical world. The medical practitioners should be held accountable for whatever decisions they make as well as the consequences.
Assuming responsibility enables professionals to make rational decisions that are fair to the majority with minimal harm to either party involved. This aspect lays a responsibility on everyone involved in delivering care to patients and all arms that are attached to healthcare. They include insurance agencies, pharmacists, the government, doctors and nurses as well as patients. The most appropriate ethical principle that is used to solve dilemmas arising from accountability is nonmaleficence. This principle states that a professional should make decisions based on judgments that have the least harm to the majority.
Facts should be properly weighed against consequences before making a rational decision that must benefit the majority. Another area in which dilemmas usually occur is patient -doctor communication. The two parties get to interact when the patient is sick and the doctor has to prescribe medicine that will cure the disease. The interaction is expected to follow certain values and principles that are expected by the society. The patient should be able to trust the doctor and feel secure in the hospital environment so that he can freely disclose all his medical problems to the professional honestly.
The professional in turn should treat all such information with utmost privacy and confidentiality that it requires so as an environment of strict ethical boundaries is maintained. The health professionals are expected to care for their patients without inflicting any harm on them. The principle of benevolence offers them guidelines regarding rendering their services without inflicting any harm to their clients. (ethicsjournal. umc. edu) The behavior of acting partenistically, whereby the doctor dominates the interaction by offering instructions while the client is on the receiving end, should be highly discouraged.
The client’s views should be respected and be put to test if applicable or beneficial especially when giving prescriptions. Adopting the patient centered strategy can help practitioners who can take time listening to the client’s views about his health and expectations. Such a strategy limits most of the dilemmas that can arise as a result of being paternalistic. This patient centric practice ensures that both the interests of the patient and the medical practitioner are catered for. (ethicsjournal. umc. edu)
http://ethicsjournal. umc. edu/ojs2/index.php/ojhe/article/viewFile/111/148The as retrieved on 7th Feb 2009 Goodwin, L. , Fall. Ethical theory in the practical context. SCAN 1985. as retrieved From: www. kon. org/ethical_dilemmas. html on 7th Feb 2009. Rest, J. R. A psychologist looks at the teaching of ethics. The Hastings Center Report, 1982. As retrieved from: www. kon. org/ethical_dilemmas. html on 7th Feb 2009. Thiroux, J. Ethics: Theory and practice. London: Collier McMillan, 1986. Dunn Marianne C. Knowledge helps health care professionals deal with ethical dilemmas AORN Journal, March, 1998.