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Testing the limits of prospective autonomy- advance directives in an incompetent patient - Essay Example

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As is indicated in the medical code of ethics, in emergency circumstances, the life of the patient should always take priority (Hope, Savulescu, & Hendrick, 2008). Weighing between the life of the patient and the…
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Testing the limits of prospective autonomy- advance directives in an incompetent patient
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Testing the Limits of Prospective Autonomy- Advance Directives in an Incompetent Patient Testing the Limits of Prospective Autonomy- Advance Directives in an Incompetent Patient
Saving lives is the sole responsibility of medical practitioners. As is indicated in the medical code of ethics, in emergency circumstances, the life of the patient should always take priority (Hope, Savulescu, & Hendrick, 2008). Weighing between the life of the patient and the religious belief should always have the life of the patient being considered. For instance, the attending physician should administer the life-saving blood transfusion only after talking to the patient on the importance of the transfusion and how it would save his life. In such a case, the physician must develop a social interaction with the patient by making him understand that the neglect of the transfusion administration is seen as a neglect of life, which is equitable to suicide.
Being a religious belief, Jehova Witness is not legally approved by the country to teach its followers against blood transfusion. The medical principles have a blood transfusion as mandatory for people in emergency situations that involve excessive bleeding. However, without the consent of the patient, if the medical practitioner goes ahead to give the transfusion, he risks being sued by the patient in the court of law for malpractice. The medical code of conduct dictates that the patient must be consulted before any medical procedure is performed, which he or she must approve. However, the decision is sometimes left to the physician, especially in emergency life-saving situations.
One of the factors that is in favor of the physician after the administration is that the failure to save the life of a patient is not documented in the medical laws and also in the national laws. Even if the patient filed a malpractice case, the physician would not be convicted of an offense. Failure to administer the transfusion would be the most serious case that may even see the physician fired. In order to act in a moral, ethical, and humane manner, the physician should administer the transfusion to save the life of the patient.
The virtue theory would also be applied in the determination of the decision to make on whether to administer the blood transfusion or not to the incompetent patient. The virtue theory suggests that the performance of an act that promote the common good for society as well as individuals and regards an activity that would cause harm as vicious (Shelp, 2012). Applying this theory in the present situation, efforts to save the life of a person would be desirable to the society and promotes the health wellbeing of the patient. It is thus virtuous for the medical practitioner to carry out the process blood transfusion to the Jehovah witness patient to avoid death. Otherwise, the medical practitioner would be considered vicious if he or she does not carry out the procedure since would be considered as aggravating the harm condition of the patient.
The virtue theory would also be applied from the point of the patient and give similar decisions. The theory also suggests that individuals would be virtuous if they act to reduce the harm on their bodies which is desirable in accordance with the morals of the society (Shelp, 2012). However, people would be vicious if they act to inflict harm and pain to their bodies. Thus, in the present situation, the patient is would be vicious if religious faith prohibits blood transfusion and by allowing the medical practice, the patient would be virtuous. Therefore, the medical practitioner would administer a blood transfusion which is virtuous from both the societal and patient perceptions.
References
Hope, R. A., Savulescu, J., & Hendrick, J. (2008). Medical ethics and law: The core curriculum. Edinburgh: Churchill Livingstone/Elsevier.
Shelp, E. E. (2012). Virtue and Medicine: Explorations in the Character of Medicine. Dordrecht: Springer Netherlands. Read More
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