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Ethical Case Study

1003 words - 5 pages

An Ethical Case Study: Jerry McCall
Heather Sewell
November 4, 2013
Susan Kajfasz

An Ethical Case Study: Jerry McCall

The Jerry McCall case study involves a health care worker who is a medical assistant and LPN and b faces a legal and ethical decision when a patient insists on a prescription of Valium while Jerry is in the office alone. Jerry must decide how to provide the patient with what he needs while maintaining the law and his ethical values.
Jerry McCall, although he received professional training as a medical assistant and an LPN, is not qualified to refill a prescription for a patient. According to New York State Law, LPNs are not allowed to work independently. ...view middle of the document...

A medical assistant or LPN could call in a refill on a prescription if the physician documented a need for refills in the patients chart or directly instructed them to call the pharmacy. Any other option leaves Jerry and the facility open to litigation.
The doctrine of respondent superior is a legal doctrine “that holds an employer or principal legally responsible for the wrongful acts of an employee or agent, if such acts occur within the scope of the employment or agency” (Legal Information Institute Cornell University Law School, 2010). According to the guidelines of respondent superior, Jerry is not protected during a malpractice lawsuit because prescribing medications is not within the scope of his job duties as an LPN or medical assistant. If the event that the physician documented a need for a refill in the patient’s chart and Jerry called it in to the pharmacy, Jerry would be protected by the physician’s malpractice insurance. In this case, Jerry would be liable for his actions because he acted outside of the scope of his job duties. If the patient had an adverse reaction, he would be able to sue Jerry for acting outside the scope of his position and illegally calling in a prescription.
Jerry should respectfully tell the patient the circumstances. He is alone in the office and legally cannot refill the patient’s prescription for Valium. Regardless of how irate the patient becomes, Jerry must act within the scope of his education and experience as a medical assistant and LPN. He must explore his options with two goals in mind – helping the patient and fulfilling his work obligations. He can explain to the patient that he is not licensed to prescribe medications even if it is for a refill. Jerry can tell the patient when the physician or nurse practitioner, if there is one in the office, will return to speak with the patient. Jerry can also recommend that the patient call the physician directly since the patient insists that they are personal friends. This option would completely remove Jerry from...

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