June 10, 2012
1. Explain how the patient Bill of Rights applies to this case.
The Patient’s Bill of Rights was established to contribute to more effective patient care, and to ensure that care is considerate and respectful. Mrs. Jones, in our scenario, is a patient evidently suffering from a terminal illness possibly in its latter stage. Mrs. Jones did not choose to get terminal cancer, however; she has also not chosen whether to be given an extra dose of a narcotic that could potentially end her life. Thus, Nancy nurses’ decision to administer this extra dose is not only capable of killing her, but is also premeditated. The Patient’s Bill of Rights states that the patient’s wishes should be honored, as well as the wishes of her family and other caregivers. In this situation, that becomes difficult, as the patient is in a terminal state and unable to consent to ending her life. The cancer center should consider seeking legal counsel because it could be an issue in the end that Nurse Nancy is considered a killer and the cancer center is under a lawsuit on behalf of her behavior. If you are to be justified in helping someone to die (assisted suicide), the person you are going to ‘help’ must have made it clear that they want to be killed. In our scenario, this is not the case. I cannot say that Nancy Nurse, in this situation, did not act out of sympathy and compassion, or that she believed that she was doing what Mrs. Jones wanted. But the central issue, which is that the law must not license the killing of people by health professionals, family, or friends simply because they ‘think the individual will be better off dead.’ The choice between life and death is a deeply personal decision of obvious overwhelming finality (Showalter, 2008).
2. Identify and explain at least three ethical considerations.
The ethical considerations that arise in this situation are that the cancer center has and keeps the patient’s best interest in mind. Ethically, the cancer center must provide justice to the patient as health care involves a partnership and relationship between patients, doctors and other healthcare professionals. The cancer center must abide by the standard of care and make sure they are doing their due diligence in providing Mrs. Jones with the best care possible. Although the nurses are feeling burned out, it is the nature of the facility. It is a cancer center and unfortunately, there is currently no cure. Some patients will live and others will not. It is a tough decision to make to decide whether or not you should be the one to administer a drug to end a patient’s life, even if they may be suffering from a terminal disease. Ethically, Nurse Nancy wants the best for Mrs. Jones and I can understand that she simply does not want to see her suffer anymore. But, this would be a question for each cancer case that gets to a terminal state; should you as a cancer facility take it upon yourself to end someone’s life since you know it will be ending soon anyway and you see their pain? The cancer center’s responsibility lies in keeping Mrs. Jones as comfortable as possible and giving her the care that she needs, but also not to advance her death. And the last consideration is quality of life. At what point does life cease to have “quality”? And, who should decide how much “quality’ a particular patient’s life has? It is within a nurse’s ethical prerogative to administer palliative care that may by incident, hasten death, he or she is forbidden under the Code of Ethics from “acting with sole intent of ending a patient’s life even though such action may be motivated by compassion, respect for a patient’s autonomy and motivated by compassion, respect for a patient’s autonomy and quality of life considerations. (American Nurses Association Code of Ethics, 2001)
3. Identify and explain at least three legal considerations. The most obvious legal issue the…