As someone who is going to become a healthcare professional, I think ethics is really important to solve problems that will be faced when dealing with patients. From this class, I have learned a lot about ethics in the healthcare system and how ethical issues can be resolved. Ethic principles are needed in healthcare in order to guide the decisions made in research, resource allocation, treatment, and patient rights. The theories used in ethics include Aristotle’s virtue ethics, Thomas Aquinas’ natural law, Immanuel Kant’s duty based ethics, and John Stuart Mill’s utilitarianism.
The principles of autonomy and beneficence can sometimes be in conflict when a patient’s autonomous decision conflicts with the physician’s beneficent duty to look out for the patient’s best interests. For example, after lung surgery, a doctor may want the patient to stop smoking, but the patient continues smoking. This situation could lead to conflicts between the physician’s duty of beneficence and the patient’s right to make his or her own decisions. As long as the patient meets the criteria for making an autonomous choice (the patient understands the decision he or she is making and is not basing the decision on delusional ideas), then the physician should respect the patient’s decisions, even while trying to convince the patient otherwise. I learned about medical malpractice, which is conduct that falls below the standard of care, including acts of commission and acts of omission.
Malpractice is determined if the physician does not meet appropriate standards of care. I also learned about the decision making process, in which the principles of beneficence, respect for autonomy, quality of life, and contextual features for the patient should be met.
Informed consent is the practical application of the principle of autonomy, which is solidified in the U. S. Constitution (Rights to Privacy). The principle of informed consent states that it is very important to gain approval from the patient to avoid future problems occurring between the healthcare provider and the patient. I also learned about genetics, human production, and the ethical issues of birth. The use of recent technology in the processes of fertility and pregnancy can raise ethical dilemmas and questions, particularly related to the value of human life.
The problem with new innovations is that they often have future consequences that can’t be foreseen. In addition, I also learned about pediatrics, end of life decisions, and death. Special considerations should be made in research involving infants and children, because infants are protected under the Born-Alive Infants Protection Act, which defines “born alive” as the complete expulsion of an infant at any stage of development that has a heartbeat, pulsation of the umbilical cord, breath, or voluntary muscle movement, no matter if the umbilical cord has been cut or if the expulsion of the infant was natural, induced labor, cesarean section, or induced abortion.
Rights must be given to any child who is born into the world. The principles of autonomy and beneficence relate to end of life care in regards to the right to forego life-sustaining treatment. Even though the patient has autonomy to make the decision to end his or her own life, the physician should refuse to do so because it opposes the principles that are held by physicians to save the life of all patients.
Therefore, healthcare professionals should refuse to do anything to harm their patients. The last things that I learned were the issues surrounding organ transplants, free market driven health care vs. socialized medicine, and the Affordable Care Act. The criteria that should be followed when allocating an organ for transplant include: medical need, probability success for patients, age, weight, blood type, physical location, quality of liver, and time on the waiting list. Issues also surround organ transplants in that people who are uninsured or underinsured may be denied life saving treatment because the hospital cannot help reduce the costs of treatment.
Most medical treatments are covered by insurance companies, medicare/Medicaid, the veteran’s administration, fundraising, or charitable organizations. In fact, about 25% of organ donations come from the underinsured. The U. S. healthcare system does not provide care to all citizens who have a right to life. The U. S. government should fix the healthcare system in order to allow access to healthcare for all citizens. In conclusion, developing an understanding of ethical issues in the healthcare system is really important as it allows healthcare professionals to know how to deal with patients and work in the best interests of each patient.
It is also important to be aware of human rights, as healthcare professionals deal closely with people’s lives. I have found this class very interesting and it has taught me a lot about the ethical issues that surround healthcare. I have learnt how to deal with patients and solve any problems that may arise when I am providing healthcare services.