Adventist University of Health Sciences
GBSN Department of Nursing
Ethical Dilemmas and the Operative Process
Ethical concerns occur on a regular basis in health care. Often the nurse is placed in the middle of the situation. Google the following patient and think about an ethical nightmare a hospital recently faced.
True Story: Jahi McMath
Google Jahi McMath and read about her situation.
1. What are your thoughts?
What kind of life would this child have if she were in fact “alive”?
How much more can the child’s body take?
What kinds of tests were run to confirm, “brain dead”?
Is this family in denial?
How much is it costing this family or the government to keep this child on life support?
Quality of life?
2. List the ethical dilemma(s) in this situation?
It is definitely tough being a pediatric case.
Religious clashing with medical science.
Physicians want to stop life-support believing case is hopeless, but family does not. (Futile Care Problem)
Society should show sympathy for mothers who want their children to be kept alive.
If preserving life requires high-tech support like a ventilator, doctors are the ones who should provide it.
The costs shouldn't be borne by the hospital. The Health Insurance Company or Medicaid shouldn't pay.
If the family can raise the funds, like Jahi's parents are doing, and the patient is beyond feeling pain, no harm is done by continuing, especially if they can find a facility willing to take the case.
3. How do you think you would have acted and felt as the nurse in this situation?
The main question is: How long should compassionate care continue in a case of a brain-dead patient? The family has faith, yet the medical institution is determined that the patient has met the whole definition of death. I believe as the nurse you have to have compassion and empathy for the family but rationalize with in a certain scope to help them understand. I am certain letting go is difficult for this family. "It's not natural that the child dies before the parent." Praying with the family and being supportive would be the way I act as the nurse.
4. The hospital has an ethic committee. Do you think this case would be appropriate for the committee and why?
If it has not been I would be very surprised. All of the medical personnel involved must…