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The Ethical Dilemma

  • Date Submitted: 01/26/2014 07:37 PM
  • Flesch-Kincaid Score: 40.6 
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The ethical dilemma

This case presents an ethical dilemma, a situation which arises when one must choose between mutually exclusive alternatives (Beauchamp& Walters, 2003). Decisions may have results that are desirable in some respects and undesirable in others. In Juana's case, her decision to refuse the blood transfusion had the desired outcome of allowing her to remain true to her religious beliefs. However, her choice also resulted in her death. If she had followed the recommendation of the physicians and the team, the desirable outcome would have been possible survival but would have had the undesired effect of violating her religious principles. The major ethical dilemma was that by honoring the patient's autonomy and religious beliefs, the physicians and interdisciplinary team were faced with compromising their moral duty to administer professional care in accordance with established standards (Chua & Tham, 2006). A brief review of the literature of Nursing Collection II: Lippincott Nursing Journals (from Ovid) and CINAHL databases for the past 5 years found no evidence to support best practice for a Jehovah's Witness who is pregnant and has experienced blunt trauma.

Healthcare providers faced with this situation have sometimes attempted to obtain court orders that would overrule the patient's decision and result in her submitting to recommended medical treatment. For example, the Illinois Supreme Court (Illinois v. Brown, 1996) upheld a mother's decision to refuse blood transfusions even though they were vital for both the mother's and fetus' survival. The Patient's Bill of Rights states that the healthcare providers' responsibility is to give patients accurate information and that patients must consent to treatment (New York State Department of Health, 2008). This is consistent with the Federal government's recommendations to create guidelines that assure healthcare quality and to reaffirm the critical role consumers play in safeguarding...


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