Part I: Revisiting your Ethical Dilemma
In your opinion.
- Let’s revisit the example you shared in our first discussion about an ethical dilemma or situation that you’ve faced. Describe this example and present your reasoning for your response using the ethical principles and theories that we’ve learned in the course. How did you respond differently? How did you respond similarly?
My ethical dilemma I shared:
I had once experienced an ethical dilemma when I was watching a given movie. In the film, a patient went testing for HIV in Saint George hospital. The doctor who performed the test on the patient realized that the patient had been exposed to HIV. Instead of telling the patient the truth, the doctor gave negative results to the patient to protect him from the truth about his condition. The doctor did not adhere to the ethical principle of truthfulness. Even if the patient’s results were painful, it was his right to receive correct results. The doctor, from his perspective, was that the patient would be traumatized and commit suicide. This was an ethical dilemma for the doctor since he was trying to protect his patient, but in doing that he was violating the principle of truthfulness.
Another ethical dilemma that I saw in the movie was concerning a teenager who visited the hospital because of a certain problem she experienced in her genitals. The doctor found out that the girl had been infected with a sexually transmitted disease, which required immediate attention. Since the child was a minor, living under the roof of her parents, her mother wanted to know what was wrong. The doctor was faced with an ethical dilemma of whether to disclose the information to her mother or not. The ethical principle of confidentiality was supposed to be considered by the doctor. Doctors are not supposed to disclose information concerning the patients without their consent as stated by Kälvemark et al. (2004). The doctor had no option but to violate the principle since his best option was to reveal the information to her parents, which he thought was the right decision.
In the same movie, another patient had experienced a road accident, and his leg was severely injured by sharp metal. To reduce the spread of infection, the doctors decided that they should amputate the leg. The doctors talked to the patient about the process of amputation, but the patient declined. The doctors were faced with an ethical dilemma of whether to accept the patient’s decision or to amputate the leg since the infection was going to spread on the whole body and kill the patient. The ethical principle of Autonomy had to be adhered to by the doctors. The doctors had to respect the patient’s decision even though it was a wrong decision, which could lead to his death.
The ethical dilemma faced in Terry Schiavo’s case was whether to let her die or live by removing the feeding tube. Terry Schiavo will be to remove the feeding tube, but this was faced with different obstructions. It was difficult for her family to accept the decisions since, in doing so, she was going to pass on. It was also not fair not to respect the choice of Terry Schiavo hence an ethical dilemma in the situation.
The stakeholders in this topic were one her family who wanted Terry Schiavo to live. Her husband was also another stakeholder. He wanted the best for his wife, and he followed her will by removing the feeding tube. The community at large also wanted Terry Schiavo to live. They did not accept the decision to remove the feeding tube. Courts were also major stakeholders who carried proceedings on the case. Terry Schiavo’s case was had 20 times in courts, which makes the courts a significant participant. The national government was also involved in the matter. Congress even had a voting session to decide the fate of Terry’s case. The media was also involved in the case. The media ensured that all people across the country were aware of the event that was affecting Terry. The media led people to rally to protect Terry so that she might live.
The ethical principle of Justice applies in Terry’s case. This principle entails fairness and equality to all as stated by Gelling (1999). Terry was equal to any other human being, and it was her right to live like any other person. Hence the feeding tube was not removed because she also had a right to live despite her condition. Another ethical principle is the principle of Autonomy. Autonomy is whereby an individual is allowed to make his or her own decisions as stated by Scott (2017). From the case, Terry’s decision to remove the feeding tube was adhered to. Even though it was returned back, we see that at long last, it was removed according to her wishes.
My recommendation towards the case would be to allow the will of Terry to pass. All those cases were irrelevant since Terry had made up her decision. Yes, my response differs from the outcomes in the case since the parents were in denial, but I believe Terry had suffered a lot and wanted to be at peace. So the best option was to allow the principle of Autonomy to take place so that she might rest in peace.)
Part II: Analysis of an Ethical Issue
Apply what you know.
Our topics in this week’s readings are often viewed as controversial, emotionally rooted, and rife with ethical issues. Choose one of the following topics, one which you have strong feelings about:
- Assisted reproduction
- Stem cell research
Next, respond to the following questions:
- What is the ethical dilemma(s) inherent in the topic chosen?
- Which ethical principles and theories might apply? Be sure to identify and define each principle or theory.
- Using the ethical principles and theories you’ve identified, apply these to support an ethical decision in two ways. First, select a decision which you would not personally agree with. Next, select a decision which is consistent with your personal beliefs.
- How would you assist the patient with decision-making on your chosen topic? Be sure to describe the ethical decision-making process.
- How might personal values influence the behavior of the healthcare professional? How would you guard against having your personal values influence your behavior?