Journal of Ethics Case Study Paper

Choose a case from the AMA Journal of Ethics Case Index (LINK AT BOTTOM FOR CASE). and take a position. For this assignment you will evaluate the ethical arguments for or against the issue. Identify the potential legal arguments (consider current federal guidelines), indicate any potential professional code conflicts you foresee, and support your position with an explanation of your own ethical/moral foundation. Journal of Ethics Case Study Paper
In your 2-3 page paper:
Identify the issue and state your ethical position.
How might this scenario play out or impact you in your role as a nurse practitioner?
Defend your position with legal, ethical, and professional evidence.
As part of your position, propose strategies and solutions for addressing the issues.
What other ethical issues does this case bring to light, if any?
Support your position with at least one scholarly source (it may be your text). Be sure to cite the article you choose, use APA format, and include a title page and reference page.
Review the rubric for further information on how your assignment will be graded.

Here is the link to the article to use for the paper:

Title: Should cosmetic outcomes influence discussions about goals of care for severely burned patients?
Identify the issue and state your ethical position.

Liu and Romanowski (2018) discuss the ethics of surrogate decision making during medical emergencies, particularly when the patient is incapacitated and the surrogate presents a decision that is contrary to what the patient would have selected. In fact, the article focuses on the role of cosmetic surgery in burn cases and whether cosmetic outcomes should have a bearing on care decisions made by surrogates. The concern comes about when the patient has did not present a preference for legal representation and this position is given to a surrogate who is no longer close to the patient and may not understand the patient’s current preferences. As a medical practitioner, the most important issue is whether the decision is good for the patient’s wellbeing in terms of survival and functionality. The decision on whether or not the patient should be subjected to cosmetic surgery should consider the patient’s preferences and opinions presented by surrogates only after patient education in which the treatment options are presented along with their merits and demerits. Although it is important to consider different opinions before a decision is made, an uninformed decision that threatens the patient should not be accepted without extensive consultation and education. The parents are at one end of the spectrum while the friends are at the other end of the spectrum while the patient is incapacitated and cannot make a decision. Given that a consensus is necessary, the next step is to educate both parties to ensure that they make an informed decision that takes into account the patient’s overall wellbeing. Journal of Ethics Case Study Paper

How might this scenario play out or impact you in your role as a nurse practitioner?

As a nurse practitioner, my role is to provide the best possible care given the prevailing circumstances. This implies that I must protect, advocate for and promote the patient’s safety, health and rights. Still, even when providing care, I must respect the decision that the surrogate makes as long as the patient is not placed in undue harm. Although I may have a contrary opinion to what the surrogate decides, the truth is that I am legally bound to abide by the surrogates decision and not allowed to act contrary since professional and ethical standards demand this. As a nurse, my position is to offer advice and act according to instructions offered provided that they do not intentionally harm the patient. Before acting contrary to instructions, I must first show justifiable cause that the decision would harm the patient. Ultimately, I am accountable for the care that is provided and could even be subjected to legal and professional sanctions (Potter et al., 2018). As a result, I would simply advice the family and friends while providing them with information to aid in their decision-making before abiding by whatever decision the selected surrogate makes.

What other ethical issues does this case bring to light, if any?

Other than the ethics of whether or not surrogates should make decisions for the patient, the other ethical issue is whether or not the patient’s dignity and respect should be preserved. Owing to the pain, the patient is sedated while receiving care. On one hand, the patient’s recovery can be harried if cosmetic care is not provided at the current stage with the patient able to become independent within a shorter period of time. On the other hand, including cosmetic care at this stage would slow down the recovery process thus leaving the patient incapacitated for longer. Between the two decisions, ethical concerns about dignity abound since faster recovery without cosmetology would leave the patient with horrible scaring while slower recovery would reduce scaring but force the patient to spend longer in hospital. Whichever decision is made would have to consider the patient’s dignity and whether it should be preserved and respected given the circumstances. Journal of Ethics Case Study Paper


Liu, Y. M. & Romanowski, K. S. (2018). Should cosmetic outcome influence discussions about goals of care for severely burned patients? Retrieved from

Potter, P., Perry, A., Stockert, P., Hall, A. & Castaldi, P. (2018). Study guide for essentials for nursing practice. St. Louis, MO: Elsevier.

Journal of Ethics Case Study Paper

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