Ethical Decision Making in Emergency Patient Treatment – Medical Ethics Example

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"Ethical Decision Making in Emergency Patient Treatment" is a perfect example of a paper on medical ethics. In every profession, professionals have been left with no choice from arising situations but to make the best ethical decisions regarding the situation at hand. The decisions made related to the acts of a profession or those of other parties involved in the case at hand. Where parties responsible for giving the direction after consultation by a professional fail to make the best decisions, the professional must make the best decision based on the benefit of all.

In the medical profession, practitioners are under most circumstances called upon to make the diagnosis or even prescriptions as well as treatment based on ethical considerations despite failing to reach an agreement with the affected parties (Joseph, 2011). These decisions mostly regard the provision of emergency treatment irrespective of the consent of the patient. The paper examines the possible decision-making model regarding the provision of treatment for an emergency case of a six-year-old kid suffering from meningitis. In the case scenario presented, a six-year-old child arrives at a health center promoting the requirement of treatment of meningitis whose failure would lead to death.

The ethical dilemma in the scenario is whether to subject treatment against the consent of the kids’ parents who have failed to give permission. Although one of the parents has agreed to give consent, for the treatment he advocates further tests from an independent consultant. The mother, on the other hand, is against the treatment as a result of religious barriers. Considering the kid is in the extreme with vomiting and convulsions already present, little time is required to save the kid’ s life (Husted and Husted, 2010).

The ethical laws governing medical practitioners require the consent of the patient before any treatment is subjected. Since the six-year-old is a minor, the consent to subject treatment upon the kid can only come from the parents. The mother, who is the guardian to the child, takes primary custody of the child as a result of divorce with the child’ s further. Therefore, the first consideration for the request of consent is given to her, on citing religious beliefs against treatment, the father is given the second option, his demands are so much that the life of the child will be lost before fulfilling his needs.

A decision-making model will be essential in making an ethical decision. It entails the following steps. The first consideration relates to examining precisely whether the scenario at hand involves ethics. Determination of ethical issues for the case at hand must portray that in one way or another, a professional’ s ethical guidance is affected. The step helps in establishing the best moral principle to apply in the situation.

Next, there is a need to discover all possible facts regarding the case at hand. Consideration of the available facts proves essential to avoid acting in an unethical manner by the omission of information that may have given leads to another option (Joseph, 2011). The next steps involve consideration and reference from guidelines guarding the profession to ensure the decision is in line. Then, a profession needs to consider all that will influence or may influence the ethical decision at hand. Also, a consultation with another profession in the same line as the best decision is essential.

Then move on to list the benefits and disadvantages of the decision to be made. The next step will lead to reviewing options. It is always essential to evaluate other options as one may arrive at better ways of handling the situation. After considering available options, and analysis of the consequences follows. Consequences are the outcomes that follow as a result of the decision made. An ethical decision should aim at arriving at the best possible outcomes for the parties involved.

Where the consequences seem beneficial, outlining the plan in one step after the other follows. The step guides a professional from deviating from the primary objective. Lastly, an analysis of the achievement resulting from the ethical decision is made. All moral decisions made should aim at arriving at a positive outcome. In essence, they should achieve something, where achievements are not present; the need for making such a decision remains irrelevant. The model will prove important guidance in resolving the dilemma. Through an examination of the ethics involved in the scenario, it will show evidence that values are involved as a result of a lack of consent so as to administer treatment to the kind.

Identifying all the facts present gives the profession the truth regarding consent availability as those responsible gives limitations. Again, referring to the professional guiding principles guards an expert against deviating from the stated principles. In the case scenario, saving a life for the benefit of the patient is not against the medical professional’ s guidelines. Reviewing any possible options for the kid before administering treatment will ensure the decision made is the only best and available to save the life of the child (Brody, 2011).

A review of consequences, to follow after the decision, helps in guarding practitioners to ensure the decision is the right one even if disagreeing parties may seek legal powers against the actions of the practitioner. The last consideration helps the profession to stay in what the professional mandates and expects from him. Therefore, following the guidance of ethical decision-making models the ethical dilemma will be resolved. Upon completion of the decision-making process, the necessary treatment will follow to save the life of the kid.

Treating the child will occur despite the failure to acquire consent from the parents as life-saving comes first in the medical profession. Consequently, doctors and other medical practitioners act for the benefit of the patient, and the actions of saving the life of the child are justified. Explaining the decision to the family will not take an easy platform considering that both parents had diverging views regarding the treatment process after diagnosis of the disease. Through engaging the family members in a dialogue, the first approach will start with greetings.

After their response to the greetings, acknowledging their level of participation and contribution the parents accorded to the child. On their response, the respondents will feel honored thereby creating a room for expressing the reasons behind the diagnosis despite failure to gain consent.   It will serve as a wise notion for the medical practitioners that the medical profession works according to the law as well as recognizes the role of parents in choosing what is right for their children (Brody, 2011).

Again, the reasons behind making the parents aware of the kid’ s situation will an explanation while still answering the queries raised by the members. However, despite the failure to fulfill the parents’ desires, it will prove essential to explain to the parents how dangerous meningitis can be if the right treatment is not accorded in the best time possible. As not all individuals are conversant with the effects of convulsions among a meningitis patient, an explanation of the same will help to ease tempers from the parents.

In the explanation, it will also be essential to keep consistently reminding the parties that parents are happy when kids are healthy as for the same with medical practitioners. Assuring the family members that treatment occurred only as a result of an emergency in order to save the child’ s life will be appreciated despite their earlier reluctance. Continuous engagement of the family members in the topic also helps in bringing the message home.


Brody, B. (2011). Life and death decision making. New York: Oxford University Press.

Husted, G., & Husted, J. (2010). Ethical decision making in nursing and healthcare: The symphonological approach (3rd ed.). New York: Springer.

Joseph, M. (2011). Developing and teaching models of ethical decision making (Rev. ed.). Chicago, IL: School of Social Work, Loyola University of Chicago.

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