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3 pages/≈825 words
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Health, Medicine, Nursing
English (U.S.)
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Ethics in Medical Practice (Essay Sample)


A 6-year-old develops a high fever accompanied by violent vomiting and convulsions while at school. The child is rushed to a nearby hospital. The attending physician makes a diagnosis of meningitis and requests permission to initiate treatment from the parents. The child’s parents are divorced. The mother, who is not the biological parent of the child, has primary custody. She is a Christian Scientist who insists that no medical treatment be offered for religious reasons. The biological father, who resides in another state, is also contacted. He insists that treatment be given and seeks independent consultation from another physician.
In a formal, written paper of 800-1,200 words, answer the following questions:
1.What is the ethical dilemma here?
2.Describe the decision-making model you selected from your readings.
3.How would you resolve this dilemma using the model?
4.Include, at the end of your paper, a 200-word dialog in which you explain your decision to the family. (Remember to use language that the family would understand).


Ethics in Medical Practice
Student Name
Institution Affiliation
Ethics in Medical Practice
The Dilemma
The physician does the right thing of seeking permission to initiate treatment of the child from the parents. This is in line with the principle of consent, which guides the physicians. Obtaining informed consent is a legal and ethical necessity of treating a patient. The dilemma thus is left with the parents and considering the urgency of the treatment, need to make the decisions immediately. The mother who has primary custody of the child is a Christian scientist who insists treatment not to be offered for religious reasons and the father, who lives in another state, insists that treatment be given. The dilemma here is whether the physician should give the treatment for a good course. This is to save the life of the young boy.
Social Decision-making Model
The social model suggests that humans have bundles of feelings, emotions and instincts and that their behavior is guided by their unconscious desires. Meningitis is a serious disease, and if it is diagnosed early and treated promptly, one can make a complete recovery. However, in case of the treatment is delayed, the patient might become very ill and deteriorate rapidly. Thus, prompt treatment can make the difference between life and death (Hughes, 2006).
The physician is faced with an undead situation, where he has to do something distasteful in the short term to do something desirable in the long run. The mother of the child has a primary custody over the child. Thus, her decision has to be respected. The father is residing in another state and is not available to make a prompt decision although he wants the treatment on the child to commence. If the physician has the capability of commencing the treatment, then he should do a wrong of not considering the mother’s decision and religious believe to save the life of the young boy.
Decisions based on the social decision making are often intuitive. The decisions should be made based on the inner knowing, or some sense of what is right. In this dilemma, the physician has the information of how serious the disease can be if it is not treated promptly. Thus to do what is right, he has to give the treatmen...
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