Running head: ETHICAL DILEMMA IN HEALTHCARE Ethical Dilemma in Healthcare Student’s Name Institutional Affiliation Date 1 ETHICAL DILEMMA IN HEALTHCARE 2 Ethical Dilemma in Healthcare The ethical dilemma is a common challenge in healthcare as medical professionals find themselves in many instances that require an ethical decision to be made. It is not always easy to make ethical decisions. In the case of Hopewell Hospital, several experienced physicians may also be careless in how they deal with the patients, and this leads to some ethical challenges. In this case, Dr. Cutrite is an experienced general surgeon who has worked at the hospital for many years. However, just like several other experts in the field, he makes some mistakes that affect his work quality. The case explains how the doctor operated a Mrs. Jameson and, unfortunately, left a plastic needle protector in her body. The operating supervisor explained that the mistake was discovered a week later, and the patient had already been discharged. However, there were fears that she may develop complications or remain uncomfortable for long. E.L. Straight, the director of clinical services at the hospital, is in a dilemma on whether to call the patient back to the hospital or not, whether to explain the reason for another surgery or lie about it, or whether to follow what Dr. Cutrite had advised, to leave it all to remain unattended because the patient may never know if the plastic was in her. According to the surgeon, the plastic may not have any negative and dangerous impacts. However, it was necessary to make the right decision and to do so fast.
Ethical Decision-Making Model Ethical Awareness The ethical decision-making model highlights a guideline that could help make an ethical decision in the professional field. The first component is moral awareness. It refers to the ability to determine and appreciate the ethical impacts of a decision that one makes (Gao, Liu, Johnson, ETHICAL DILEMMA IN HEALTHCARE 3 Wang, & Hu, 2019). In this case, the decision to be made by Straight will have to meet the expected moral awareness standards. For example, it should be valid and should not be meant to hide a mistake, harm the patient, or promote negligence. Regardless of the social relationship between Straight and Dr. Cutrite, and the political influence that the surgeon may have, it is still necessary to consider what is good for the hospital now and later. Straight will be expected to make a decision that any ethical person in this situation would make. Emotional awareness is all about the gut feeling that something is wrong with the situation (Roshanzadeh, Vanaki, & Sadooghiasl, 2020). For example, Mr. Straight is required to consider if his decision will affect the career of any of the professionals, the reputation of the hospital, the life of Mrs. Jameson, and his position too. Ethical awareness is vital in ensuring that the decision taken does not have detrimental impacts on the stakeholders. Moral Judgment Moral judgment refers to the processes and procedures that are used to make the decisions and implement them. It involves the analysis of the options available to determine if they will affect the stakeholders in negative ways (Roshanzadeh, Vanaki, & Sadooghiasl, 2020). The case in Hopewell Hospital requires a keen analysis of the options to determine the impacts they will have on the people affected. For example, suppose the issue is ignored, and the patient is allowed to remain with the plastic item in the body. In that case, this could have some negative impacts on her health in the future, which would damage the hospital’s image or reputation. If the decision is to lie to her about the need for a second surgery, it could protect the hospital’s reputation, but it would compromise the ethical duty of the hospital. If the patient is informed of the mistake before the second surgery, it could cause panic, and a negative reputation may also result from the decision. The moral judgment component t helps Mr. Straight to make a decision that will have ETHICAL DILEMMA IN HEALTHCARE 4 the least negative impacts. Telling the patient the truth and explaining to her the causes of the error, the possible dangers, and the remedy available may be the best option.
However, it may also lead to a conflict with the powerful and influential surgeon, and this could affect his job security. Ethical Behavior In this component, the final decision of the decision-maker is expected to be made regardless of the fear of the possible social conflicts that may arise from it. It involves making a decision that meets the required ethical and moral standards (Kon, Davidson, Morrison, Danis, & White, 2016). Dr. Cutrite may oppose the decision by Straight, and this may have some backing up by the political leaders who may know of it. The hospital may also risk legal liability if the patient chooses to sue them for negligence. However, it is only ethical to do the right thing regardless of the possible negative impacts it may have in the short term rather than let it have long term impacts. The focus should be to correct the error and reinstate the trust that people have in the hospital. Factors that Contributed to the Issue The medical error is one of the many that cause deaths to many people across the world each day. The medical errors could affect the reputation of a healthcare facility and could have many detrimental impacts on the patients (Snydeman, 2017). The first factor contributing to this error is that the surgeon has slipped mentally and physically, which means that his concentration and accuracy have reduced due to age. The surgeon may have lost his concentration, or he forgot how to observe all the necessary precautions during the surgery. The second factor is that the people assisting the surgeon may have been reluctant and negligent because they should have detected the mistake when it happened. The probability is that they also failed to do their duty as ETHICAL DILEMMA IN HEALTHCARE 5 required. The other factor is the lack of training. The team at the surgery room requires some more training to ensure they are more competent and reliable. The last factor is that there were some delays in detecting the error, which could have been a result of the slow reconciliation of the records. The error was only detected a week later, and this could have been done earlier if the reconciliation was done immediately after the surgery. It is recommended that the records and the items be reconciled on time so that it can be rectified immediately if there is an error. The situation became more complicated because the patient had already left the hospital when the mistake was detected. It is also important to ensure that there is a better method of reporting the errors, and the external influence, social status, and other factors should not affect this process. ETHICAL DILEMMA IN HEALTHCARE 6 References Gao, R., Liu, J., Johnson, R., Wang, J., & Hu, L. (2019). Validating an ethical decision-making model of assessment using authentic scenarios. Studies in Educational Evaluation, 62, 187196. Kon, A. A., Davidson, J. E., Morrison, W., Danis, M., & White, D. B. (2016). Shared decisionmaking in intensive care units. Executive summary of the American College of Critical Care Medicine and American Thoracic Society policy statement. Roshanzadeh, M., Vanaki, Z., & Sadooghiasl, A. (2020). Sensitivity in ethical decision-making: The experiences of nurse managers. Nursing Ethics, 27(5), 1174-1186. Snydeman, C. K. (2017). Evaluation of the effect of the Peer Review Impacts Safety and Medicalerrors (PRISM) Program on critical care nurses’ attitudes of safety culture and awareness of recovery of medical errors (Doctoral dissertation, Boston College). …
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