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Analysis Of An Ethical Dilemma

1905 words - 8 pages


Analysis of an Ethical Dilemma: Arizona Shooting Tragedy
Thomaline Turner
Grand Canyon University

NRS 437V

January 22, 2011

Analysis of an Ethical Dilemma: Arizona Shooting Tragedy
An ethical dilemma can be characterized as a set of circumstances where one’s typical guiding moral influences clash in such a way that any possible conclusion will be perceived unfavorably. In today’s world, healthcare professionals can expect to be increasingly confronted with and play key roles in the resolution of ethical dilemmas (Burkhardt & Nathaniel, 2008). This paper serves to explore, in detail, an ethical ...view middle of the document...

The Washington Post (2011) reports that several students requested that Loughner be required to undergo psychological testing and treatment. The Washington Post (2011) also reports that Professor McGahee was insistent to the school counselor that something needed to be done. However, the counselor’s response indicated that since Loughner had not brought a weapon to class and did not appear to be hurting anyone, that not much could be done. Ultimately, in September 2010, campus police issued Loughner a notice of school suspension informing him that he could return to school only after undergoing a mental health evaluation that deemed him as not posing a threat to himself or others. Tragically, Loughner never pursued this evaluation. Netter’s article discusses whether further steps, namely Loughner’s civil confinement, could have prevented this tragedy. Now, with the benefit of hindsight, the answer would seem obvious. But, if we backpedal, and apply the benefits of hindsight in hopes of avoiding future similar tragedies, maybe awareness of measures that could have been taken will be of benefit. Civil confinement can present an ethical dilemma as it can be viewed as violation of autonomy in the form of consent and decision-making capacity. Burkhardt & Nathaniel (2008) describe consent as an individual’s right to accept or reject treatment. Further expanding this by stating that health care interventions need to be voluntary and occur without coercion, force, or manipulation by health care professionals or family members. Decision-making capacity involves a medical determination evaluating whether an individual is capable of making decisions relating to current issues. Conscious adults are considered to have decision-making capacity unless there is contrary evidence (Burkhardt & Nathaniel, 2008).
Ethical Decision-Making Model:
Decision-making models, in conjunction with moral thinking, are useful in guiding one through a methodical process of values clarification, and can assist in decision-making efforts when presented with an ethical dilemma. This process prevents one from relying solely on emotions for direction. Uustal’s (1993) model outlines several formal steps for the healthcare professional to consider when faced with an ethical dilemma. For the purposes of this paper, Uustal’s model will be applied to the dilemma of civil containment in the case of Jared Loughner to determine if this proposed alternative may have been reasonable.
Identify the problem.
Can Jared Loughner be subject to civil confinement without violation of his autonomic rights of consent and decision-making capacity?
State your values and ethical position related to the case.
As a professional nurse, the safety and well being of others is of highest priority. I consider myself an advocate for this cause. While I believe in the protection of Mr. Loughner’s rights of autonomy, I do not think that this should come at the expense of society’s safety at large....

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