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  • Subject Name : Nursing

Ethics and Legal Issues in Nursing

Question 1: Which ethical principles are challenged in this case study and how?

The ethical principles being challenged in this case are:

Veracity: acting with truthfulness, being trustworthy, being very clear in all communications with others 

Fidelity: Possessing qualities of loyalty and faithfulness to those who trust the nurses. 

Integrity: showing consistent behaviour, being honest and actions fulfilling all moral standards

Suman who is the husband of the patient being taken care of by the nurses, cares and loves his wife and is concerned for her health. He places his trust in the nurses and the doctors to tell him the truth. On many accounts he questions the doctors and nurses

a) Suman asks the doctors what the blood test are for as he was not informed of these test: the doctors reply that they trying to understand Ayesha's illness more deeply, which was a lie, those tests were to determine if Ayesha was pregnant or not.

b) Suman asks the nurse what is wrong with Ayesha – but the nurse tells him nothing is wrong and hides the fact that Ayesha is pregnant

c) The next day Ayesha is admitted into operation theatre for surgery. Suman is informed that his wife is undergoing surgery, he was not informed of the surgery, either his consent was taken

d) Suman demands to know what is wrong with his wife, however, instead of being informed of the truth, he is told by the team leader that Ayesha may be having an operation to get his appendix removed.

In this case, all the above-mentioned ethics are violated as the nurse knows what the truth is, however, the nurse is not honest, doesn't display consistency or truthfulness in their communication with Suman. They are not as trustworthy as they continue to provide Suman with false information.

Q2. The legal issue concerning the case study can arise due to the malpractice that also includes lying with a family member about the patient health status. The team leader misleads Suman by mentioning about appendicitis irrespective of the pregnancy that can lead to legal complication due to deception. The father has the equal right to decide about the pregnancy he should be informed and he should participate in the decision. The decision concerning the pregnancy relies on both maternal and paternal views and they both should equally participate in the decision making.

Q3. The short-term consequences of the deception include stress, anger, fear and loneliness that directly affect the mental and physical wellbeing of the individual. The long term consequences of the deception include emotional burnout, depression, helplessness and anxiety. These issues can directly affect individual life long and decrease the quality of relationships with a partner. The lie with the partner regarding the pregnancy can directly lead to these consequences which can affect both of them mentally as well as physically. The Suman will become very depressed after knowing the truth that can directly break his trust

Q4. Considering at least 2 different ethical theories, outline some possible actions the nurse may take in responding to this situation.

Based on the two ethical theories namely Deontology and Utilitarianism, the nurse may tell Suman that Ayesha was taken into surgery because the symptoms of her appendicitis got severe, and surgery was the best alternative to take care of the situation. As the ethical theory of deontology states that people must stick to their duties and obligations, and a nurse’s duties include ensuring the outcomes as per the patient’s desire. Furthermore, according to the ethical theory of utilitarianism, an individual should take actions that will impart benefit to maximum people, which in this case is not telling Suman the truth about the situation.

Q5: What will you do?

In such as scenario, where the patients have denied the sharing of information even with their family member, I was a nurse would not share the information that the patient is pregnant however it is not ethical practice to lie to the family member so I would reference from making up false information about the patient. Additionally not letting the family member know that the patient is going under surgery is incorrect a sit would give them mental distress when they get to know about it later hence letting them know prior without letting the patient's confidential information leak is what I would have done as a nurse.

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