Values and Ethics Essay

Submitted By ivank
Words: 1586
Pages: 7

The Patient’s Right to know a bout her terminal condition This essay is about the patient’s right to know about her terminal condition. The patient’s name has been changed to maintain confidentiality according to the Nursing and Midwifery council, Code of professional conduct. (2002) Pg. 7 One morning I came to the ward at around 7:00 am for my adult placement early shift. I attended the hand over meeting and I was later asked by the senior nurse to attend to 70- year-old Mrs Grant. I was meant to feed her, since she was too week to feed her self. I sat her up, washed my hands and got ready to feed her, but she refused having anything. I tried to talk her in to having some thing, but she totally refused to eat or drink anything. Her husband and son had brought her to hospital with intermittent diarrhoea, severe abdominal pain and shortness of breath. Her medical history revealed previous abdominal pain and a past medical history of menopause. A few days after her admission, the doctors and physician carried out tests and examinations and she was diagnosed with cancer of the cervix. Unfortunately the cancer was at an advanced stage and could not be treated. The medical team said that Mrs Grant had just a few months to live, however painkillers and nursing care were recommended for her. Despite her condition she was still fully conscious and legally competent, but the medical team felt it was not right to tell Mrs Grant about her terminal condition. The medical team discussed the diagnosis with her family, and they all decided not to tell her about her terminal condition. They argued that telling her would only worry her, since nothing could be done to improve her condition, and that she was better off not knowing that she was dying. However Mrs Grant kept asking the nurses for her results, but they kept changing the topic and telling her that she will be all right. The senior nurse felt caught between the patient, family and the medical team’s request. She firmly believed that the patient had a right to know her condition, but did not believe that it was her responsibility to tell her. Mrs Grant got very depressed, anxious and worried about the lack of information concerning her condition. I think this was why she completely refused to have anything to eat or drink early, when I was asked by the senior nurse to help feed her. The senior nurse suggested that, we should respect her choices by not forcing her into doing any thing she did not want to do, since she was still fully conscious and aware, despite her age and condition. However her family did not agree with this, and consider it as a breach of duty of care. They insisted that we should force her have something eat and drink to sustain her for some time. From my point of view, Mrs Grant had a right to know about her condition, because she was fully conscious and a competent adult. The Nursing and Midwifery council, Code of professional conduct pg5 states that all Patients and clients have a right to receive information about their condition. I further felt that, letting the family members interfere with the patient’s right to know about her terminal condition, was disrespectful. Singleton and McLaren (1995:112) suggest that Respect for the principle of autonomy, and rights to self-determination of rational agents would require that individual should be told the truth about their diagnosis, treatment and prognosis and be enable to remain in control over the remaining period of their lives. I think keeping information form Mrs Grant about her condition, caused more harm than good, because she got so depressed, worried and refused to have anything to eat or drink. I further felt that denying Mrs Grant the truth about her condition, denied her the chance to make important life decisions due to lack of knowledge a bout her condition, hoping she