Ethical And Legal Issues In Nursing

1233 words - 5 pages

Ethical and Legal Issues in Nursing
University of Phoenix

Ethical and Legal Issues in Nursing
Marianne, the 79-year old woman who presented with a hemorrhagic stroke in a recent case study, brings up thought for ethical debate. Her outlook is poor, with or without surgery, and she has no advanced directive. Her husband and children cannot come to an agreement on whether life support should end or if all resuscitative measures should be attempted. The following paper will discuss how the American Nurse’s Association Code of Nursing Ethics would influence a final decision, how personal and societal values can influence ethical decision making, the fundamental legal ...view middle of the document...

” (American Nurses Association, 2001)
Personal and societal values can have a direct influence in the decision making process of a loved one’s health care. Personal upbringing including how, where and when a person is raised will impact their decision making process. In this case study, the three older children of the patient will more than likely have a different take on the current situation than the elderly father. The children may more quickly accept the reality that their mother will not recover or will have a poor quality of life if placed on permanent life support. The father will be faced with the fear of loss, and have old traditional values in place, such as, “do it all” mentality when caring for his wife.
Societal and cultural backgrounds will also play a key factor in that decision making process. For example, an orthodox Jewish family will have different values and morals than a traditional American or Latin family. These traditions will all need to be taken into account by health care professionals. Cultural and financial stability will also have a direct impact on a family’s final decision. If the family has the financial means to support a loved one, they might choose to extend that person’s life by placing them on life support and around the clock care.
In the case of Marianne, the family must reach an informed medical decision regarding her care. The children and the husband have different wishes for the patient; if they cannot come to an agreement, the elderly husband has the legal right to make the final decisions regarding his wife’s case. The responsibility of the healthcare provided and patient advocate is to provide the family information and recourses to allow them to make the most appropriate informed decision regarding their family member’s care.
According to the Illinois Department of Public Health (2011), if there is no advanced directive and the patient cannot make decisions for themselves a health care “surrogate” is chosen. The priority by law is as follows: guardian of the person, spouse, any adult children, either parent, any adult brother or sister, and adult grandchild, a close friend, or guardian of the estate.
As an employee of a healthcare institution involved in a malpractice case, the nurse’s primary obligation is to tell the truth about the case in question. The nurse’s responsibility to their employer is to keep all personal feelings to themself, and answer questions asked of them without volunteering information about unrelated incidents. Responsibility to the nurse being sued should always be fulfilled prior to litigation. Management and the nurse involved should be informed of all negligence and an unsafe standard of care when an incident occurs. A nurse’s responsibility to the patient in question and the...

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