The Ethical Dilemmas Of A Nurse Who Is Caring For A Patient With Cancer Essay

The Ethical Dilemmas Of A Nurse Who Is Caring For A Patient With Cancer Essay

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HCP’s must consider the ethical dilemmas that might arise from the use of ACD’s, such as for a nurse who is caring for a patient with cancer with an ACD for refusing life-sustaining treatments such as chemotherapy due to patient determining that it would decrease their quality of life (Ryan, Diane & Jezewski, 2012). If the nurse has differing beliefs on what constitutes quality or life to their patient, the nurse should still respect the patient’s choice of their end-of-life preferences or if this cannot be achieved then the nurse must hand the care of that patient over to another HCP (Ryan et al., 2012). For a paramedic who was called to a patient in cardiac arrest and the family state the patient has an ACD for withholding Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR), but it is not present. Now, although performing CPR on this patient would be deemed to go against the patient’s wishes and goes against the bioethical principle of respect for autonomy, the paramedics cannot withhold treatment without sighting the official legal document (QAS, 2015).
The Australian Law Reform Commission (2014) state that according to Australian law, all competent adults have the right to consent to and refuse any medical treatment, including the provision of ACD’s. They suggest that when consent is not valid or not established, health professionals may face legal consequences, such as civil liability for any adverse outcomes, regardless of if the treatment itself is not considered negligent. Although Australian Law recognises that there are some circumstances where an individual may be incapable of giving informed consent, for example in persons with an impaired decision-making capacity and where consent to treatment may not be required, such as an emergen...


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...imited by law and usually cannot be done without consent (Griffith, 2009). All capable adults have the right to refuse treatment, even if that treatment may save their life, then paramedics and nurses should respect the life choices that their patient makes, including the provisions of an ACD (Ekore et al., 2012; Griffith, 2009).
The Australian law recognises that all adults have the right to determine what is done to their body, and consent from a patient is vital as it ensures that the actions of the nurse stand outside the criminal law (Griffith & Tengnah, 2011). This essay has discussed the ethical and legal issues surrounding ACD’s and contrasted the relevant nursing and paramedic ethical frameworks and concluded that HCP’s need to advocate for their patient’s and respect their wishes, particularly when it comes to gaining informed consent and the use of ACD’s.

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