Ethical And Legal Issues Essay

1267 words - 6 pages

Nurses make legal and ethical decisions when caring for patients; decisions that need to be made carefully because the decisions could possibly change a patients' life. There are theories to explain how to problem solve ethically and the theories are not based on emotion (Guido, 2006). This paper will discuss the relationship between legal and ethical issues and ethical theories, examples will be provided.Ethics can be described as principles and standards that are a guide to conduct used to elevate the standard of compliance (Judson & Harrison, 2010). Ethics is derived from the Greek word "ethos" ethics explains actions as right or wrong in respect to cultural principles and values. ...view middle of the document...

894).Metaethics is a nonnormative ethic that attempts to describe the implication between moral concepts or statements and the justification of why something is regarded good or ethically correct. Normative ethics understand standards of behavior and application of these behaviors in life. Normative ethics branch out into two broad categories called deontological and teleogical theories (Guido, 2006).Deontological theories focus on the intended action not the consequences of one's actions (Guido, 2006). The theory focuses on the dignity and sense of duty of the individuals and finds the relationship between the person and the action. Deontological theories are divided into two subcategories; act deontology and rule deontology. Guido (2006) states that "act deontology is based on the personal moral values of the person making the ethical decision, whereas rule deontology is based on the belief that certain standards for ethical decisions transcend the individual's moral values" (p. 4).Teleological theories are based on the simple concept, right actions have good consequences and bad actions have bad consequences. This theory suggests the act of right or wrong is directly related to the consequence of the action. Utilitarianism stems off of teleogical theories, explains that consequences count and acts are determined by the consequence. Some utilitarian's believe that the moral rightness of a consequence is determined by the greatest number of good or the least harm and suffering (Guido, 2006). Considering the moral rightness is based on greatest number to benefit from the greatest good, actions based on the utilitarianism theory can often be unethical and illegal.Nurses in acute care settings are faced daily with ethical issues and concerns. Shannon (2008) examines the terms "morally ordinary" and "extraordinary" in respect to patients in a "permanent vegetative state" (p. 894). It is thought if we can keep the body alive we should, "capacity generated obligation" but there is a compromise in human dignity, making this both a legal and ethical dilemma (Shannon, 2008, p. 894).Euthanasia and end of life care often cause a lot of animosity, as they have been distorted by general public. Shannon (2008) states, "Discontinuing medical procedures that are burdensome, dangerous, extraordinary, or disproportionate to the expect outcome can be legitimate; it is the refusal of over-zealous treatment" (p. 898). This statement defines euthanasia in its most accepted form withdrawal of treatment. This makes the act legal, but is it ethical to withdraw treatment that was started to sustain life, knowing that the result ends in death?Another example of an ethical issue in an acute care setting is preserving organs for donation in a patient who is pronounced dead following a cardiac event. Organ donation is a personal choice that can be expressed though written consent by...

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