PHI FPX 3200 Assessment 5 Tonya's Case: Ethics and Professional Codes
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PHI FPX 3200 Assessment 5 Tonya’s Case: Ethics and Professional Codes

PHI FPX 3200 Assessment 5 Tonya’s Case: Ethics and Professional Codes

Name

Capella University

PHI FPX 3200 Ethics in Health Care

Prof. Name

Date

Tonya’s Case: Ethical Considerations in End-of-Life Care

Ethical Principles and Moral Theories

Tonya Archer, a teenage girl, was admitted to the hospital for surgery to repair her ACL tear but suffered cardiac arrest during transfer and eventually succumbed to brain death due to lack of blood flow. While medical professionals recommended removing Tonya from life support as further treatment was deemed futile, her parents insisted on continuing therapy, citing signs of life such as body warmth and a beating heart. This scenario raises ethical and moral dilemmas pertinent to end-of-life situations.

The ethical principles of autonomy, beneficence, non-maleficence, and justice are pivotal in Tonya’s case. Autonomy denotes a patient’s right to make decisions regarding their treatment, with Tonya’s parents acting as her advocates in this scenario. However, parental autonomy does not supersede the obligation to avoid fruitless or harmful therapy. Healthcare practitioners must act beneficently, prioritizing the patient’s best interests. Considering Tonya’s irreversible condition and the exacerbation of her suffering with continued treatment, the medical team has determined that it is not in her best interest to prolong therapy. Acting without malice, healthcare professionals must avoid causing further harm, which would be the case with continued therapy. Justice necessitates equitable decision-making, unaffected by socioeconomic status, with the medical team basing their decision solely on medical judgment (Nandifa et al., 2020).

Moral Theory for the Case

Utilitarianism, a moral theory maximizing overall pleasure and minimizing suffering, is relevant to Tonya’s case. Under this approach, decisions are deemed ethical if they maximize joy or pleasure for the greatest number of individuals. Applying utilitarian principles to Tonya’s situation involves weighing the consequences of maintaining or removing her from life support. With Tonya diagnosed as brain-dead and no likelihood of benefiting from continued treatment, the medical consensus is to discontinue life support (Marseille & Kahn, 2019).

Utilitarian analysis necessitates evaluating potential outcomes. While removing Tonya from life support would undoubtedly cause anguish to her family, it would also alleviate her from further suffering. Conversely, maintaining life support would prolong Tonya’s agony without enhancing her well-being. Ultimately, from a utilitarian perspective, discontinuing life support aligns with maximizing overall happiness and minimizing suffering, albeit with emotional repercussions (Vearrier & Henderson, 2021).

Application of Professional Code of Ethics

Professional codes of ethics guide healthcare practitioners in fulfilling their duties towards patients. The American Medical Association’s Code of Medical Ethics offers relevant principles for this scenario. Non-maleficence dictates avoiding harm to patients, justifying the recommendation to remove Tonya from life support to prevent prolonged suffering. Autonomy grants patients the right to make treatment decisions, upheld through surrogate decision-making by Tonya’s parents, who must act in her best interests. Beneficence obliges healthcare professionals to act in the patient’s best interests, validated by the conclusion that continued treatment offers no benefit to Tonya (Ebbs et al., 2020).

The medical team’s decision aligns with professional ethics, emphasizing beneficence, autonomy, and non-maleficence. While Tonya’s parents retain the right to advocate for her, the medical team is entrusted with providing treatment based on sound medical judgment and ethical standards.

Use of Organizational Documents

Organizational documents, such as mission and value statements, provide a framework for decision-making in healthcare settings. The hospital’s mission prioritizes quality care and patient well-being, supporting the decision to discontinue Tonya’s life support to alleviate her suffering. Values such as integrity, respect, and compassion underscore the humane nature of this decision, considering Tonya’s irreversible condition (Minicuci et al., 2020).

Hospital protocols for end-of-life care likely guided the decision-making process, ensuring consultation with ethical committees and involvement of surrogate decision-makers. By adhering to organizational guidelines, the medical team acts in alignment with the hospital’s commitment to patient-centered care and professional integrity (Luna-Meza et al., 2021).

Role of Accrediting Bodies

Accreditation agencies, such as The Joint Commission, uphold standards of care in healthcare institutions. Compliance with these standards ensures the delivery of safe and quality care. The hospital’s accreditation status validates the appropriateness of decisions regarding Tonya’s care. Accreditation criteria include protocols for end-of-life care, validating the medical team’s decision to discontinue life support as consistent with industry best practices (Gulati et al., 2021).

Even with accreditation, adherence to established guidelines remains crucial in decision-making, particularly in end-of-life scenarios. The medical team’s decision aligns with ethical imperatives and patient-centered care, ensuring the delivery of safe and compassionate treatment (Foglia et al., 2019).

Conclusion

Navigating ethical complexities in end-of-life care requires a delicate balance between patient autonomy, beneficence, and professional integrity. While Tonya’s case presents challenging moral dilemmas, adherence to ethical principles and professional standards guides healthcare practitioners and organizations in making decisions aligned with patients’ best interests.

References

Ebbs, P., Carver, H., & Moritz, D. (2020). Principlism in paramedicine: An examination of applied healthcare ethics. Journal of Paramedic Practice, 12(8), 1–6. https://doi.org/10.12968/jpar.2020.12.8.cpd1

Foglia, M. B., Lowery, J., Sharpe, V. A., Tompkins, P., & Fox, E. (2019). A comprehensive approach to eliciting, documenting, and honoring patient wishes for care near the end of life: The veteran’s health administration’s life-sustaining treatment decisions initiative. The Joint Commission Journal on Quality and Patient Safety, 45(1), 47–56. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jcjq.2018.04.007

Gulati, M., Levy, P. D., Mukherjee, D., Amsterdam, E., Bhatt, D. L., Birtcher, K. K., Blankstein, R., Boyd, J., Bullock-Palmer, R. P., Conejo, T., Diercks, D. B., Gentile, F., Greenwood, J. P., Hess, E. P., Hollenberg, S. M., Jaber, W. A., Jneid, H., Joglar, J. A., Morrow, D. A., & O’Connor, R. E. (2021). 2021 AHA/ACC/ASE/CHEST/SAEM/SCCT/SCMR guideline for the evaluation and diagnosis of chest pain. Journal of the American College of Cardiology, 78(22). https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jacc.2021.07.053

Häyry, M. (2020). Just better utilitarianism. Cambridge Quarterly of Healthcare Ethics, 30(2), 1–25. https://doi.org/10.1017/S0963180120000882

PHI FPX 3200 Assessment 5 Tonya’s Case: Ethics and Professional Codes

Luna-Meza, A., Godoy-Casasbuenas, N., Calvache, J. A., Díaz-Amado, E., Gempeler Rueda, F. E., Morales, O., Leal, F., Gómez-Restrepo, C., & de Vries, E. (2021). Decision making in the end-of-life care of patients who are terminally ill with cancer: A qualitative descriptive study with a phenomenological approach from the experience of healthcare workers. BMC Palliative Care, 20(1). https://doi.org/10.1186/s12904-021-00768-5

Marseille, E., & Kahn, J. G. (2019). Utilitarianism and the ethical foundations of cost-effectiveness analysis in resource allocation for global health. Philosophy, Ethics, and Humanities in Medicine, 14(1), 1–7. https://doi.org/10.1186/s13010-019-0074-7

Minicuci, N., Giorato, C., Rocco, I., Lloyd-Sherlock, P., Avruscio, G., & Cardin, F. (2020). Survey of doctors’ perception of professional values. PLoS ONE, 15(12). https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0244303

Molina-Mula, J., & Gallo-Estrada, J. (2020). Impact of nurse-patient relationship on quality of care and patient autonomy in decision-making. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 17(3), 835. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17030835

Nandifa, V. N. P., Jena, Y., & Joewana, S. (2020). Beneficence is the highest moral imperative of a doctor dealing with the poor quality of patient autonomy. Jurnal Pendidikan Kedokteran Indonesia: The Indonesian Journal of Medical Education, 9(1), 44. https://doi.org/10.22146/jpki.44511

Vearrier, L., & Henderson, C. M. (2021). Utilitarian principlism as a framework for crisis healthcare ethics. HEC Forum, 33(1), 45–60. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10730-020-09431-7

PHI FPX 3200 Assessment 5 Tonya’s Case: Ethics and Professional Codes