Grand Canyon University: Ethical Decision Making in Health Care: NRS 437V
May 17, 2015
An ethical dilemma can occur in nursing and medicine daily. The conflicts between religious beliefs and medical science are especially challenging when the beliefs reject medical intervention. This scenario involves a 6 year old boy requiring hospitalization for meningitis. The physician has requested permission to proceed with a specific plan of care. Disagreement on the treatment offered, divorce without shared custody, and religious beliefs create an ethical dilemma.
The dilemma consists of medical treatment ...view middle of the document...
Those not healed are not applying “the ‘Truth’ or ‘Divine Principle’ which Christ taught” (Catholic Answers, 2015). Using medical science is not the answer to a Christian Scientist, because the person is “not experiencing an objective illness, but rather ‘error’ or a mistaken perception that he is sick” (Catholic Answers, 2015). This little boy is not old enough to make a decision involving treatment, and is depending on his parents to make the best decision regarding his health.
The BMA (British Medical Association) model discussed in the journal Nurse Prescribing, would be an appropriate decision making model to use in resolving this ethical issue (Cooper, 2012). This model incorporates six steps to resolution.
Step One and Two
The first step is identifying the problem, and the second step is breaking the problem down into parts. The problem: a child is in need of urgent medical treatment. The breakdown: Treatment is being denied by the mother who has custody due to religious beliefs, and is being delayed because of the biological fathers’ absence at the time.
Step three is the information gathering step. Since the child is unable to provide information, the medical team diagnosed an urgent need for treatment based on history and symptoms. The biological parent agrees with the treatment plan and wants it implemented immediately, but the custodial parent wishes to follow her religious beliefs and pray for healing while withholding medical care.
The fourth step involves legal and professional guidance. If this child doesn’t receive the recommended medical care, serious injury, morbidity, or death could result. Treatment is regulated by the separate States in the U.S. “Seventeen States have religious defenses to felony crimes against children: Arkansas, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Louisiana, Minnesota, New Jersey, Ohio, Oklahoma, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, and Wisconsin, while the others defer to the beliefs of the parents” (Children’s Healthcare, 2015).
If no solution is found, critical ethical analysis should be applied. If the child lives in a State that provides medical protection, contact Child Protective Services to initiate care. If the State supports the parents religious beliefs, encourage the father to seek petition to allow the State to assume custody, or apply for emergency custody.
Justify the decisions with sound argument. This child is not of an age to make a decision based on his religious beliefs. He is only 6 years old, and has the right to reach an age where he is able to make an ethical religious decision for himself. “The right to believe does not extend to the right to endanger lives of children” (Hall, 2013). If medical treatment has...