A Case Study Depicting The Importance Of Ethics In Medicine

4553 words - 18 pages

To protect the individual’s right and confidentiality, the client involved would be referred to as ‘Marge’.


‘Work for health requires moral commitment’ (Seedhouse, 2009 p. xiviii). Therefore, the obligation rests on healthcare professionals faced with ethical dilemma in their practice to make moral decision which should promote and enhance health ( Rumbold, 1999; Sim, 1997). Ethics is concerned with the basis on which an action is determined as either right or wrong (Rumbold, 1999; MacIntyre, 2005).

Therefore, ethics is the study of morality which is also known as moral philosophy (Sim, 1997; Thompson et al, 2006). When one moral principle conflicts with another, it is referred to as a moral or ethical dilemma (Sim, 1997). Hence, ethics provides a framework for addressing dilemmas (Rumbold, 1999).

Thus, Thompson et al (2006), highlights that clients are presented as consumers rather than recipients of care. As a result, there seems to have been changes and challenges in health and social care in recent years (Thompson et al, 2006). More than ever before healthcare professionals have to act in the best interest of clients irrespective of their cultural backgrounds, values or religion (Thompson et al, 2006).

This essay highlights the Hippocratic Oath as it is translated into principles which inform the modern code of ethics (Preston, 2009). Furthermore, these principles may not be enough in undertaking moral reasoning. Therefore professionals may have to employ some of the ethical theories which include theory of justice, teleology and deontology in deciding the best possible action for Marge in the case study.

Marge has been diagnosed with bipolar affective disorder, and the multidisciplinary team (MDT) were faced with the dilemma as to whether she should be further detained or discharged. Seedhouse ethical grid provides a comprehensive outlook, and thus it shall be used as assistive tool for deliberating the dilemma (Seedhouse, 2009). However, it does not prescribe the moral course of action between the options in the case (Seedhouse, 2009). Values of clients, the client-professional relationship and boundaries are some of issues that crop up during the debate on the course of action to take. In the end, the team has to make a decision about the most ethical course of action.

The College of Occupational Therapists Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct, section 1.1, states that, the purpose of the code is to provide ‘…values and principles used in promoting and maintaining high standards of professional behaviour’ (College of Occupational Therapist [COT], 2005). Hence, the code was framed based on some sets of assumptions and many of the terms are inadequately defined (Sim, 1997). In addition, its language is in general term; as a result, the code does not give specific guidance (Sim, 1997; Seedhouse, 2009).
According to Preston, (2009) the Hippocratic Oath from 400BC explains the fundamental of...

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