Medical ethics are a set of moral principles that apply values and judgments to the practice of medicine. The four values of autonomy, beneficence, non-maleficence, and justice are commonly considered to be the fundamentals within medical ethics. Medical ethics encompasses its practical application in clinical settings, and while these values do not give the answers as to how to handle a particular situation, they do provide a useful framework for understanding conflicts and solving ethical dilemmas.
This paper will discuss case number six, A Physician Disagreement Regarding a Patient’s Wishes and will determine which of the four values were upheld or disregarded.
It is important for physicians to discuss treatment options, goals for care and end of life wishes early in the physician-patient relationship. As with the case of John H. conversations were had and it was decided by the patient to have a do not resuscitate order and to stop any further treatments for his pancreatic cancer. When an unforeseen complication of internal bleeding occurs, the patient asks if there is anything that can be done to control the bleeding, thus causing the oncologist on the case to question the no further treatment decision previously made by John H. and to forge ahead with the possibility of treating the internal bleeding.
Some may argue that providing treatment to John H....
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...ovide treatments. Seemingly, justice seems like a very direct and simple principle of ethics, however, applying justice within populations in clinical settings is often challenging and requires constant attention to guarantee that its purposes are upheld.
Physicians have the honor and privilege of working with patients at the end of life. They should encourage all patients to state their end-of-life care wishes and identify a healthcare proxy in the event that they are no longer deemed to be competent. Although physicians may be faced with difficult ethical conflicts when trying to provide care, respecting their patient’s end of life decisions should be their top priority. To have a patient like John H. who had stated clear wishes and had an advanced directive in place, takes the burden off the physician to have to make these end of life decisions for the patient.
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