Essay on A Research Study On Patient Autonomy

Essay on A Research Study On Patient Autonomy

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The difficulty that may arise when addressing the principle of beneficence, lies in determining what exactly is “good” for another person, and who can best make that decision (Aiken, 2004). When determining whether or not an action is “good”, considerations must be made about outcomes and benefits, both present and future, and personal or communal, as well as rights and costs to the patient (financial, loss, etc.) (Ivanov and Oden, 2013). Sometimes the obligation of beneficence can conflict with respecting patient preferences and patient rights (autonomy). Some even say that patient autonomy should take precedence over beneficence, but this can be difficult to determine and should be considered on a case by case basis (Byrd and Winkelstein, 2014). This point can be illustrated using a clinical example. An elderly patient has been hospitalized for dehydration and a urinary tract infection. The patient has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, is at risk for falls, has a history of falls that caused patient injury, and has a tendency to wander. The patient has an IV in place with fluids running, and concerned that the patient may fall or wander off somewhere and dislodge his IV, the staff believes restraining is an optimal solution. However, the patient is adamant about not wanting to be restrained. In this situation, the healthcare team has to decide whether or not beneficence will take precedence over autonomy. In this example, the course of action will take some serious consideration, but if the healthcare provider chooses to uphold the patient’s wishes and it causes harm, the principle of beneficence may be violated (Aiken, 2004). In a more obvious example of beneficence being upheld, a nurse who suspects a child of being ...

... middle of paper ... justice. An example of justice being violated is a nurse or physician providing different levels of care according to a patient’s socioeconomic status. Say that a patient on welfare has developed respiratory complications associated with a procedure performed earlier in the day, and would greatly benefit from being transferred to the intensive care unit (ICU). The problem is that there is only one bed available in the ICU, and the physician knows that a patient with a higher socioeconomic standing is going to need the bed tomorrow following a surgical procedure. The physician knows that the patient in need of the bed tomorrow will be able to afford the ICU stay without a problem. If the physician makes a decision as to who is to receive the bed based on the patients’ socioeconomic standings, this would be a violation of the principle of justice (Aiken, 2004).

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