Ethics Case Study

1178 words - 5 pages

What are Ethics? Ethics are standards of behavior, developed as a result of ones concept of right and wrong (Judson & Harrison, 2010). Code of ethics is a list of principles that is intended to influence the actions of healthcare professionals within an organization. Ethical principles help guide the decision-making process among healthcare workers in complicated situations. This paper will review the assigned case study and provide the reader with the ethical issues and principles.The case study discussed an 8-month old child brought into the emergency department by the mother due to inconsolable crying. It was reported that the child had been crying since picked up at daycare. The nurse found that the child's vital signs were slightly elevated and child's thighs were edematous and warm to the touch. The assessment was then presented to the physician; concern was expressed that the child may have been injured. An x-ray was ordered revealing fractures to both femurs. The mother was informed of the findings by the physician; after speaking with the mother the physician decided it was not child abuse and therefore, the situation did not need to be reported.The ethical issues involved in this case study are the nurse and physician's responsibility to report suspected child abuse. Social services should have been consulted to assist in the process of reporting the situation to Child Protective Services (CPS). Hardy and Armitage state "In all actions concerning children, the best interests of the child shall be a primary consideration" (2002, p. 109). In this case, the primary consideration was not in the best interest of the child. According to Judson and Harrison the physician has the responsibility to understand the tools for diagnosing and treating abuse and to be familiar with the available resources (2010). The nurse in this case has the ethical duty to report the physician for not having concern regarding a possible child abuse situation. Healthcare professionals have an ethical duty to expose unethical behaviors by other members of the healthcare field.Nursing has progressed over the years into a respected and honorable profession. Insaf Altun (2008) states it best by saying, "The six key roles of nursing are: advocacy, promotion of a safe environment, research, participation in shaping health policy, in patient and health systems management, and education" (p. 839). The two key roles the nurse in this case study failed to provide for the patient are advocacy and promotion of a safe environment. If the nurse was using good moral and professional judgment, he or she would have reported the situation immediately for the wellbeing of the child.Three of the ethical principles that are discussed are nonmaleficence, veracity and paternalism. The first ethical principle is nonmaleficence, meaning first do no harm (Judson and Harrison, 2010). A question asked by Milton and Cody (2001 p.290) was, "How can one keep from doing harm if one acts...

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