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Organ Donation After Circulatory Death: Vital Partnership - Essay Example

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Running head: ORGAN DONATION Organ Donation After Circulatory Death: Vital Partnership Number) (Name of Professor) Organ Donation After Circulatory Death: Vital Partnership Introduction As individuals working on a science that deals with actual human lives, nurses are bound to encounter ethical dilemmas that warrant the nurse’s professionalism as well as compassion…
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Organ Donation After Circulatory Death: Vital Partnership
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Download file to see previous pages In relation, this paper will explore the different ethical issues connected with DCD, in relation to a case published in the American Journal of Nursing (Beach, Hallett, & Zaruca, 2011). This paper will explore the said issue by first presenting an overview of the case, the ethical dilemma present, and the possible alternatives that could have been used to solve the problem, all with the aid of the Decision-Making Model (Bohinc & Gradisar, 2003). Case Overview Sharon, a 50-year old female, presented unconscious to the Emergency Department after a car accident. Within a few hours after admission, Sharon’s condition declined, to a point where she had no facial and corneal reflexes, she posture was decerebrate, and she did not respond to any stimuli. According to the institution’s policy, Sharon was candidate for DCD and so the protocol for harvesting was activated. Upon learning the patient’s desire not to be “hooked to tubes” (via a living will) and her wish to donate her organs, the family signed an informed consent for DCD. The patient was then removed from the supportive devices to await death. However, since the patient was able to live through the recommended time for death to maintain organ viability, Sharon was unable to donate her organs in the end. The ethical problems in this case will be expounded on in the next portion of the paper. Ethical Problems and Personal Ethical Views/Values In looking at the case of Sharon, three main ethical principles come to the fore: the principles of nonmaleficence and sanctity of live versus the principles of beneficence and double effect. Nonmaleficence argues that above everything else, nurses must do no harm to their patients, while sanctity of life posits that life is sacred and withdrawing life support would inadvertently counteract this principle (Burkhardt, Nathaniel, & Walton, 2010). On the other hand, beneficence involves a decision wherein one person’s interest may be sacrificed provided that the effect benefits a bigger majority, or for the greater good (Sorrell, 2008). In addition, the principle of double effect puts forward that in cases where in an action’s harmful effects cannot be separated from the good effect, then the said action is justified provided that the act in itself is morally good, and the good effect greatly outweighs the bad effect in a situation that is adequately serious or severe, to truly justify the condonement of the negative effect (Cavanaugh, 2006). Nonmaleficence enters in the case in the fact that withdrawing support would inevitably harm the patient, and withdrawing life support would cause the patient’s death, which goes against the principle of ‘sanctity of life’. In opposition to this, the principles of beneficence and double effect actually justify the withdrawal of the life support, especially since the patient can be basically considered dead in terms of her cardiopulmonary functions, and the organs to be harvested could have helped a large number of individuals in need of organs. Thus, the withdrawal of the life support can actually be justified by the idea that the benefit was much greater than the bad effect. However, in looking at the case, all the emotional stress placed by the decision-making for the ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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