Week 6 Discussion: Ethical Issues
In your initial post of approximately 150 words, identify an ethical or legal issues or dilemmas that you have encountered in your practice. Use defining ethical terms in your post (for example, fidelity, beneficence, nonmaleficence, and so on). How was the situation resolved? Did the resolution follow ethical principles?
Discussion: Ethical Issues
I recently encountered a patient unwilling to undergo surgery to remove a tumor. Diagnostic tests had shown that it was a stage 1 cancer, and there was minimal risk of removal. However, the patient, a middle-aged woman, refused to undergo the procedure due to her conviction that she would not awake. The medical team could not force her to accept the surgery nor perform it against her will.
The patient had ill-founded perceptions of the procedure, and hence the medical team decided to attempt a patient education intervention. As the primary nurse, I enlightened her on the surgery and inquired about the origin of her misconception. As it turns out, she had heard a story of a patient who had failed to recover while she was young. I assured her that modern developments have drastically reduced such risks. Therefore, after a few patient education sessions, she was willing to undergo surgery, resolving the dilemma.
The incidence involved several key ethical concepts: patient autonomy, beneficence, and informed consent. Patient autonomy is the irrevocable right that patients have in deciding their treatment and care plan (Olejarczyk & Young, 2021). The patient was justified in refusing the procedure due to her inherent understanding and perception. However, her autonomy contradicted the principle of beneficence, which requires that healthcare providers do what is most beneficial to their patients in promoting or maintaining their well-being. The patient’s rejection of the proposed positive interventions caused an ethical dilemma. Finally, the resolution involved providing informed consent. The patient gained a deeper understanding of her health and surgery, allowing her to revise her initial decision. Therefore, the resolution was ethical since it enhanced the patient’s health literacy without disregarding patient autonomy.
Olejarczyk, J. P. & Young, M. (2021). Patient Rights And Ethics. In StatPearls [Internet]. StatPearls Publishing. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK538279/