How Do Our Values Impact Our Ethical Decisions and Moral Standards – Medical Ethics Example

Download free paperFile format: .doc, available for editing

"How Do Our Values Impact Our Ethical Decisions and Moral Standards? "  is a good example of a paper on medical ethics. It is important to understand the meaning of values and ethical decisions as well as moral standards before analyzing how the values impact ethical decision making. Values are defined as basic beliefs, a particular mode of conduct - shaped by society - and have the intensity and content attributes. Values are important in shaping up how people behave in certain places and the culture of the person also impacts the values.

Values are important for understanding the thoughts of the people and their feelings.   Values also create ambiguity in rationality and objectivity (Robins, Judge, & Sanghi, 2006). Ethics is the personal thinking of a person about right and wrong and cannot be changed with the change in place. There are three dimensions of ethical decision in which an individual can make a choice. The first dimension is Utilitarianism criteria. In this criterion, decision making is purely dependent upon the results or consequences of the situation.   The second criterion of ethical decision making can be the focus on rights.

This decision making criteria is based on the respect of the basic rights of an individual. For instance, the right of freedom to explore the thoughts, right of religious freedom, right against exploitation and right of equality, and other similar rights are included in these criteria. The focus on justice is the other criteria. This criterion demands that the imposition of rules fairly and without any partiality. So the benefits, rewards, and cost can be equally distributed among all the people and justice is given (Robins, Judge, & Sanghi, 2006). Moral standards are changeable and people transform these standards as they change their places and situations.

It is a psychological construction through which people find out that one action is wrong and the other action is right on the basis of a specific situation (Robins, Judge, & Sanghi, 2006). Characteristics of moral standards include making the right and good choices among different situations and being a good person. The meaning of moral standards is the knowledge of right and understanding of wrong acts (Robins, Judge, & Sanghi, 2006). In a complex and unpredictable environment, organizations have not been able to operate ethically in the professional world.

Values have an impact on ethical decision making and moral standards and values create conflicts in ethical decision making. It can be explained easily as our thoughts and beliefs are shaped by society and ethics are also learned by society. As it can be observed that ethical decisions making has two types; focus on justice and rights, so both these represent values. But if the ethical decision making is based on utilitarianism criteria then values do not have any impact.

So basically it can be said that it depends on the situation and if the decision is not taken to consider a larger number of people and about their betterment then values will impact the decision. However, if the decision is based on the greatest good for the greater number of people then it will not be influenced by values (Robins, Judge, & Sanghi, 2006). Q2. Discuss two moral theories that you find more relevant to your current view of health ethics? Following ethics in health, the profession has become extremely important.

Firms that are operating in the healthcare industry are monitored by the government and other agencies and their decisions are monitored whether their decisions are in favor of most of the people in the society. There are different moral theories existing in medical that are consequentialism, deontology, virtue ethics, and principlism. Deontology and utilitarianism theories are the two most relevant theories with the current view of health ethics (Holland, 2007). The moral theory of deontology is considered as appealing for health ethics and based on the rights, respect, and duties of an individual.

Information related health policies can be delivered through this theory and the placement of values in people’ s intentions can be done easily. The moral theory does not rely on consequences and presents that the moral values of the actions depend on the nature of an action. Actions can be right or wrong in nature and the failure of action does not depend upon the result. According to this theory, some actions are required in all conditions and there are some actions that are not required in all the situations.

This theory says that people should not be treated in mere means and this is considered as important in health ethics (Holland, 2007). However, the usage of this theory alone can create a problem because it can lead towards the interest of an individual which is not difficult but impossible to resolve (Holland, 2007). The second moral theory selected is utilitarianism. This theory is founded by Mill and Bentham. This theory promotes the idea of greatest happiness and according to this theory actions based on the happiness of most people should be taken.

In the utilitarianism theory of mortality, actions are judged on expected results and for this reason, this theory has some reflection of consequentialism theory. The meaning of greatest happiness is not the patient’ s psychological happiness but his overall wellbeing. It is an attractive theory because it provides a method and on the basis of that method it can be decided whether the actions are right or wrong. According to this theory, the proper course of actions lead to the maximization of satisfaction and reduce suffering.

This theory can be considered a quantitative approach to ethics (Holland, 2007). Q3. What role does the law play in supporting ethical decision-making? Law has an important role in the overall decision making of any industry. If the law asks the company or industry players to act in a certain way, then they are ought to do so. Therefore the impact of the law is important in the overall decision making of any firm in the healthcare sector. Moreover, it is important for the firms in the industry to know about the legal issues and it needs to make sure that the actions and decisions are in accordance with the laws prevailing in the society (Holland, 2007).   A high-quality classification of law includes many ethical decision-making standards.

Right and wrong are decided by law and some ethical actions are also imposed in particular fields by law. Law does not always remain the same. Law is a variable and the same is the case with the healthcare law. Ethical decision making is not an easy task and it can never be.

In many cases, patients are not able to make any decisions regarding health care issues and doctors find themselves helpless, in such cases, ethics and laws allow others to take a decision in place of patients (Holland, 2007). In many countries, the law defines and gives the authority to make the decision instead of the patient. However, this law varies from one country to another. Rights of patients and instructions are also described in law that are related to health and help doctors in making ethical decisions.

In ethical decision making, nurses take ethical standards and law into consideration as stated by Furlong (Furlong, 2008).   According to Colleen Flood, law plays an important role in ethical decision making. The overall healthcare industry is suffering from many challenges; the formulation of specific policies along with ethically based programs is essential in order to face these challenges because the existing rules and regulations are not able to meet and overcome these challenges alone. According to Alan Belaiche accessing various patient cases is not an easy task and law provides the room for integration (Pedersen, 2014).


Furlong, E. (2008). Decision-making in Nursing: Thoughtful Approaches for Practice: Right or Wrong: Legal and Ethical Issues and Decision Making”, Jones and Bartlett Publishers, Retrieved January 27, 2014 from

Holland, S. (2007). Public health ethics. Polity.

Pedersen, Z. (2014). New LLM Program To Focus On Health Law, Ethics: The Faculty of Law at The University of Toronto Is Launching A New LLM With A Concentration In Health Law, Ethics, and Policy This Fall. Canadian Law Mag, Retrieved January 27, 2014:

Robins, P., Judge, T. A., & Sanghi, S. (2006). Organizational Behaviour.

Download free paperFile format: .doc, available for editing
Contact Us