Ethical Challenges In Health Care
Discussion: Ethical Challenges in Health Care
Consider the following case study:
Mrs. ABC is a 35 year old woman who has a scheduled business trip today. It is currently 8 am, and her plan is to leave at 6 pm. Mrs. ABC has a sore throat and she thinks it is strep because her 5 year old daughter was recently treated for strep. Mrs. ABC calls her physician for an appointment, but there are no appointments available until next week. She has a mother who is a nurse practitioner and her office is 5 minutes away from where she lives. She calls and schedules an appointment with her mother. Her mother was surprised to see her daughter at the office. Mrs. ABC is frantic and begs her mother for an antibiotic. Her mother tests her and the rapid strep test is negative in office. Her mother (NP) sends out a strep DNA probe. Her mother prescribes an antibiotic and the patient (her daughter) is very satisfied. The results returned for the DNA probe 48 hours later and it confirmed negative for strep.
Post an explanation of whether NPs should treat family members. What are the ethical dilemmas in this situation? What are the laws in your state for NPs treating themselves, family, or friends?
What are Ethical Challenges in Healthcare?
Healthcare is a complex and rapidly evolving field that presents a number of ethical challenges for healthcare professionals, patients, and their families. Here are some common ethical challenges in healthcare:
- Autonomy and Informed Consent: Patients have the right to make decisions about their own healthcare, but healthcare professionals may struggle with balancing patient autonomy with their duty to provide safe and effective care. Informed consent can be particularly challenging when patients are unable to make decisions for themselves.
- End-of-Life Care: Decisions about end-of-life care can be difficult for patients, families, and healthcare professionals. Questions around the use of life-sustaining treatments, palliative care, and the withdrawal of care can all present ethical dilemmas.
- Resource Allocation: Healthcare resources, such as medications, equipment, and personnel, are often limited. Healthcare professionals may need to make difficult decisions about how to allocate these resources in a fair and ethical manner.
- Confidentiality and Privacy: Healthcare professionals are obligated to maintain patient confidentiality and privacy, but may struggle with balancing these obligations with the need to share information with other healthcare providers for the purpose of providing coordinated care.
- Cultural Competence and Diversity: Healthcare professionals need to be able to understand and respect the cultural beliefs and practices of their patients, and provide care that is sensitive to their unique needs and circumstances.
- Professional Integrity: Healthcare professionals are held to high standards of professional integrity, and may struggle with ethical dilemmas related to conflicts of interest, honesty and transparency, and avoiding harm.
- Access to Care: Access to healthcare can be limited by factors such as cost, geographic location, and insurance coverage. Healthcare professionals may face ethical challenges related to ensuring that all patients have access to appropriate care.
Addressing these ethical challenges requires ongoing education and training, clear policies and guidelines, and open communication between healthcare professionals, patients, and families. It also requires a commitment to ethical principles such as respect for autonomy, beneficence, non-maleficence, and justice.