Legaland Ethical Concerns
Legaland ethical Concerns
Whendealing with patients, nurses should be committed to providingoptimal care, promoting and protecting the safety and individualrights of a patient these are the underlying principles which governthe nurse practice code of ethics (American Nurse Association,2015).The above summary of the first six provision of the nurse codeof ethics commits me to make my patient, Ann, to be in the mostcomfortable state irrespective whether there is Advance Health CareDirective (AHCD) in place. In the absence of AHCD, family members orlegal representatives of the patient are the ones obligated to maketreatment wishes (Alzheimer`s Association, 2015). AHCD is a documentlike a will, which details the patient desire regarding who shouldmake a decision on the patient’s behalf, treatment, and medicationto receive they are only allowed in 42 states (Aging with Dignity,2015).
IfSarah and Frank cannot come to a consensus on what should be done,the physician should seek guidance from Hospital Ethics Committee orrequest a court to appoint a legal representative of the patient tomake the decisions. Making such decisions can be complex toguardians, when there is no clear document on what should be done.Every decision is supposed to be addressed in regards to reducingsuffering, while considering the beliefs and wishes of a patient andthe family (Sherman & Matzo, 2014). Additionally, any plan ofmedical care possesses some significance which may or may not matchwith the values of the patient, and it is important to consider them.
Theterms life support machine and feeding tube are different in medicalperspective therefore, Frank and Sarah should consider whetherallowing the use of feeding tube improves the life condition of Ann.If it is so, then, the use of feeding tube would be the appropriatedecision. But if they choose not to use it, then as nurses all we cando, is make the patient as comfortable as possible through thisperiod and it is not murder if it is within the confines of law(Alzheimer`s Association, 2015)
Inregards to legal decisions, it is against the law to cause a person’sdeath regardless of whether the person has consented or not. Further,failing to act, which ultimately leads to the death of the patient,can be permitted in instances where it is not in the interests of thepatient to persist with the treatment (Carrasco-Gallardo, Farías,Fuentes, Crespo, & Maccioni, 2012). However, Frank and Sarah mustbe aware that withdrawal or withdrawing treatment for Anne can beclassified as the omission of an act which is illegal.
Eventually,making the decision on whether to provide such treatment or notconsidering Anne’s situation, Sarah and Frank should assess whetherit is in Anne’s best interests that her life to be prolonged also,if the decision has a positive impact on the quality of Ann’s life.They should further take into account the previous wishes that Annehad presented when they are assessing her best interests. Also, Frankand Sarah should consider if the processing of AHCD is allowed in thehospital’s State. To make the document legal and binding, it shouldbe signed by family members, legal representatives and the doctor incharge or the one to authorize the treatment or terminate it.
Agingwith Dignity. (2015). 5 wishes sample. Retrieved fromhttps://agingwithdignity.org/docs/default-source/default-document-library/product-samples/fwsample.pdf?sfvrsn=2
Alzheimer`sAssociation. (2015). Honoring the wishes of a person with Alzheimer`sdisease. End-of-lifeDecisions,1-16. Retrieved fromhttps://www.alz.org/national/documents/brochure_endoflifedecisions.pdf
AmericanNurse Association. (2015). Codeof Ethics for Nurses With Interpretive Statements,1-42. Retrieved fromhttp://nursingworld.org/DocumentVault/Ethics-1/Code-of-Ethics-for-Nurses.html