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Medical Ethics Case Study - Essay Example

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In this situation, the ethical situation is for a young women patient from a rare Christian religious sect, that has given birth to a baby boy and following the delivery she is suffering from severe bleeding and may risk her life if not immediate action is taken by the Physician…
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Medical Ethics Case Study
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Download file to see previous pages In this situation, the ethical situation is for a young women patient (from a rare Christian religious sect, that has given birth to a baby boy and following the delivery she is suffering from severe bleeding and may risk her life if not immediate action is taken by the Physician. The doctor considers that Blood transfusion is required as the hemoglobin level is low, the tissue perfusion is seriously affected, and if the same continues, there is chance that the patient would be at a risk to lose her life. However, there is one problem in this case concerning the religion from which the patient belongs. She is from the religious sect Jehovah Witness Group which is totally against blood transfusion (Kee, 1995). The woman does not wish to do the blood transfusion as it is against her religious beliefs. In such a circumstance, the doctor is in an ethical dilemma as whether he should go against the wishes of the patient and perform the blood transfusion or avoid blood transfusion and seek alternative treatment modalities, whose effectiveness may be in question. Here, the patient’s right to self-determination to prevent blood transfusion is put to test against the doctor’s duty to disrespect the autonomy of the patient and perform blood transfusion in order to save the life of the patient. Alternatives need to be carefully weighted considering their effectiveness and safety. Ethical Principles The ethical principle being discussed in this situation is the right to autonomy which is a basic right given to every patient. This is a principle regarding self-determination of every patient to make an informed decision regarding one’s body and such decisions be made on one’ values, principles and beliefs. Others should not interfere with autonomy and not influence a patient’s choice, values and principles. However, considering that in an emergency situation patient’s may be bound to make a decision that may not rightly represent one’s values and beliefs, there are some situations wherein the right to self-determination and autonomy may have to be overlooked based on the patient’s condition. Hence the right to autonomy is not an absolute right. Consideration should be made whether the patient is competent to make a valid decision about one’s self, and that the doctor is acting on the best interests of the patient. Determine alternatives to resolve the ethical issue According to the Jehovah Witness Group Faith, the members of this religious group can accept alternatives to blood transfusion (such as glucose infusion, IV Fluids, etc) and medical and treatment procedures including surgery and administration of drugs (Kee, 1995). However, they are forbidden to accept blood transfusion or products of blood to be infused, as it is against their religious beliefs. The doctor is in a dilemma whether he should go against the patient’s wishes and disrespect the patient’s right to autonomy and act in the best interest of the patient, or respect the patient’s wishes and religion and use alternatives even though they may be less effective and not save the patient’s life. A step-wise process by which the doctor can develop a method of developing his action and considering alternatives ethically has to be used. Legal cases and the Law Past cases demonstrate that blood transfusion may not be important in saving the life of a patient who has lost significant amount of blood (Finfer, 1994). There may be other factors that may ultimately be responsible for fatalities and blood transfusion may not be very important. For example, 2 people suffered serious injuries following a car crash and lost blood and body fluids critically, requiring immediate transfusion. However, both the patients rejected blood transfusion based on their religious beliefs, and the physician had to accept this, respecting their right to self-determination and instead other alternatives were chosen. Both the patient had the same trauma scores ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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