Analyzing an Ethical Decision Paper

The moral and ethical issue on the articles is based on the principles of biomedical ethics namely justice, non-maleficence, beneficence and autonomy. According to the article, the circumstances that render health care professionals to be in distress involves a conflict between autonomy and non-maleficence or beneficence (Sher & Lolak, 2014). These situations arise when a clinician sees the need to intervene but the patient disagrees. The conflict arises because of patient autonomy and the paternalism of the physician. Like the example given, an aged patient with chronic diseases visits the hospital for the third time with similar presentation. Upon evaluation, both the physical therapist and social worker recommends a skilled nursing facility. The patient refuses to take the option and on psychiatry evaluation, she is found to have the capacity to make decisions (Sher & Lolak, 2014). Although her decision is poor her choice has to be respected Analyzing an Ethical Decision Paper.

The case presents a conflict between the autonomy of a patient and the drive of a physician to offer beneficence. The physician feels the need to protect the patient from the unsafe decisions. The first approach is to test whether the patient has the capacity to make a decision. The case indicates protectiveness since the clinician feels they know better than the patient and places the medical good of the client above anything else. The moral option to take is respecting the values of the patient and understanding the impacts of the psychosocial and medical interventions (Sher & Lolak, 2014). This is done when keeping in mind the attitudinal and cultural context of the patient. At the same time, since the patient does not follow the ideal recommendations, the only option would be to work with them to come up with the best way forward. However, the situation is distressing since the clinician believes the patient decision is wrong.

When faced with ethical dilemmas in Washington State, specifically Seattle, one has to follow five principles. The first one is respecting the patient autonomy. In the case provided one would have to follow the patient desire of not being taken to a nursing facility. Secondly one should balance the benefits and therapy burdens. In the case scenario, it calls for working with the patient at her convenience. Third, one should try to do no harm and provide benefits to the patient. Fourth justice should be sought for those who are poorly educated. The woman in the case is quite aware and of a sound mind and the just thing to do is respect her wish. Lastly one should maintain veracity and integrity of professional relationship (Milliken & Grace, 2017). In the case, the advice to work with the patient and maximize home support would be the ideal approach to use in Washington State Analyzing an Ethical Decision Paper.

Ethical decision making follows six steps. The first thing to do is gathering facts of the situation followed by deciding whether the situation has ethical or legal issues. After the decision, one establishes options available and consequences. Then one evaluates the options and chooses the best one. Lastly one implements the decision taken (Ganz, Wagner & Toren, 2015). In the case given the patient is chronically ill and have had three consecutive falls. She requires a nursing facility care but all her life she has been independent and thus rejects the suggestion. The issue is an ethical one and the decision to take is either force the patient to go to a nursing facility or support her from home. Forcing the patient to a nursing facility would only worsen her condition so the best option is helping her in her convenient environment.


Ganz, F. D., Wagner, N., & Toren, O. (2015). Nurse middle manager ethical dilemmas and moral distress. Nursing ethics, 22(1), 43-51.

Milliken, A., & Grace, P. (2017). Nurse ethical awareness: Understanding the nature of everyday practice. Nursing ethics, 24(5), 517-524.

Sher, Y., & Lolak, S. (2014). Ethical Issues: The Patient’s Capacity to Make Medical Decisions. Retrieved from capacity-make-medical-decisions Analyzing an Ethical Decision Paper.

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