The Ethical Principles Of Autonomy, Beneficence, And Justice Essay

The Ethical Principles Of Autonomy, Beneficence, And Justice Essay

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As human beings, we are inundated throughout our lives with ethical dilemmas. While these difficult choices are challenging, those dilemmas associated with medical choices can be extremely problematic. Families and medical professionals must decide the fates of people every day. A medical scenario involving an elderly woman named Jamilah Shah will be referenced throughout the work. This essay will dissect the ethical principles of autonomy, beneficence, and justice, and how they help or complicate medical decision making.
Advanced directives allow family and medical staff legal guidance in health decisions. These legally binding instructions are the direct, documented wishes of a competent individual making clear their healthcare wishes. In this scenario, Jamilah Shah has no such instructions in place, which is vital to preserving her autonomy. Because Jamilah has collapsed at the extended care facility, she is taken to the hospital and given very basic care until next of kin could be contacted. Bashir, her youngest son, has nominated himself to be in charge of her health decisions, threatening her autonomy. He has requested do not resuscitate (DNR) protocol, only allowing for comfort care. As it seems he has made this decision hastily, those in charge of her care seem to be ignoring Jamilah’s wishes. He has not consulted with any of the family members or the physician about his mother’s overall health. Simply because she has diabetes mellitus and chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder, does not mean her conditions are not being managed properly. This scenario does not state Jamilah’s mental capacity, but it does seem she is a competent individual capable of her own decisions. In fact, Jamilah has clearly expressed to the soc...


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...o make the decision making process transparent. The patient’s input would be maximized and welcomed; outside feedback would also be supported. Patients need to be educated about their health, and alternatives. A second policy would be to streamline resources and hold all departments accountable for efficiency and waste. This would help ensure resources are not in such short supply, and can be more readily available. Hospital staff would undertake further training for equitable treatment of all patients in order to ensure justice values are enforced. Advanced directives are so important, so I may contact the hospital legal department to create the third policy. It would be beneficial to create basic, easy to use legal forms so the community at large could formulate advanced directives. This would enable future patients reaffirm autonomous status in their healthcare.

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