Applying Ethical Frameworks in Practice
Ethical dilemmas are situations that nurses frequently encounter in their profession. It can involve two or more different courses of action that can’t both be acted on, placing the agent in an uncertain position (Purtilo & Doherty, 2011). Ethical dilemmas place the agent with two different courses of action that leading to two very different outcomes. Ethical dilemmas include one’s own personal values, beliefs and sense of right and wrong. When a nurse is faced with this sort of dilemma, they will need to examine their own beliefs and values.
The ethical dilemma being presented in the paper is a six year old who a minor. The physician must ...view middle of the document...
It also involves finding out more about the parent's relationship and if they discussed the situation. Identifying any possible communication barriers would be helpful while assessing the legal ramifications pertaining to this situation. The custodial mother has legal custody of the child and has the same rights in decision making that the biological father has even though he lives out of state. Obtaining a copy of the custodial papers to determine both parents' legal rights in making decisions for the child would be important at this time. Only one parent is required to sign for medical consent . Based on the child’s sign and symptoms of a high fever, seizures, and vomiting, there is a high likelihood it’s bacterial meningitis (CDC, 2014). The treatment for this includes IV antibiotics, seizure treatment, and IV fluids (CDC, 2014). Bacterial meningitis can be deadly and must be treated quickly. Withholding treatment can lead to serious lifelong complications such as hearing loss, brain damage, and learning disabilities (CDC, 2014).
Step two of the process identifies the ethical problem and moral distress. The ethical issue at hand is that the child is only six years old and cannot legally make his own decisions regarding his medical treatment. The moral distress would be withholding treatment resulting in further complications and possible even death. Due to her religious beliefs, the mother can withhold treatment as does the father for wanting medical treatment for his son.
The third step utilizes ethical theories and principles. An example of an ethical theory is Utilitarianism. Utilitarianism utilizes what is best is in the best interest for most people while emphasizing the consequences and outcomes of the action (ANA, 2014). In this case, the child would benefit from treating the meningitis.
The fourth step involves determining practical alternatives. By not initiating treatment could cause the child to endure lifelong disabilities and even death. The other alternative is to initiate treatment immediately due to the child’s signs and symptoms pointing to bacterial meningitis.
Step five is choosing which action will be taken. After careful review, it is critical that the healthcare team should implement treatment. Starting IV...