Health Care Ethics
As per the medical example provided in the readings, Mrs. McMurtry told the surgeon neither tell her husband nor their family physician about the fact that her husband has been diagnosed with prostate cancer. Now, if we apply the two ethical theories to this case then we can say as per the consequentialism that if no objection reveals any need for anything beyond consequences, then consequences alone seem to determine what is morally right or wrong. Therefore, if by not telling husband of Mrs. McMurtry and the physician, the surgeon is convinced that it would be better for the former to stay positive with his family, then consequentialist approach would be more appropriate in this case. On the other hand, from the deontological perspective, it is the moral right and duty of the surgeon to let the husband know about his illness because even if he tells or not, he, as per his experience, knows the consequences. So, in this situation, the deontological approach would be more appropriate.
If I would be given a choice, I would choose to follow the consequentialist approach because as per my understanding, the main duty of the doctor was to ensure the well-being of the patient. So, if by not telling anyone about the matter makes the family of the patient happy and close to him, then it would be the best option.
2. ‘Autonomy’ is an ethical principle being studied in nursing practices. According to it, individuals have a right to self-determination, i.e. to make decisions about their lives without getting interfered from others. Autonomy has both a descriptive and a prescriptive aspect, and the two are interrelated. Descriptively, autonomy is the capacity for self-governance. Prescriptively, respect for autonomy means (at least) not interfering with persons’ control over their own lives and (perhaps) taking active steps to facilitate such control (Yeo & Moorehouse, 2010).
Insofar the interstate nursing practice is concerned, there are some ethical issues that are raised when applying this principle. These issues in terms of autonomy are whether nurses who work and live in the states where they are legally given substantial autonomy to carry out their practice feel ethically violated when their autonomy has been has been decreased by the laws applicable in other states. On the other hand, if the nurses are given the limited legal autonomy, could make highly autonomous decisions in order to dispense safe care. If these nurses do not feel prepared, will their right to refuse care (an autonomous decision) be honored as long as the patient is not abandoned? On the other hand, would the patient's right to refuse care be respected equally among the inter-compact states?
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Consequentialism | Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Iep.utm.edu. Retrieved 24 May 2016, from http://www.iep.utm.edu/conseque/
Yeo, M. & Moorehouse, A. (2010). Concepts and Cases in Nursing Ethics