Hospital Ethical Dilemmas

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VIP Services in the Hospital Setting: A Very Important Ethical Problem
Jeszy McGuire
Elms College

Imagine this scenario; you have been sitting in the emergency waiting room for three hours surrounded by sick people, and the same plain grey walls. As you shift in your chair uncomfortably, you refrain from inhaling, because you know that the air becomes more contaminated with each patient that enters. The buzzing fluorescent lights overhead are nearly loud enough to mask a screaming toddler, who is unamused with a wire and bead toy in the corner. You are irritated. You feel as if you are waiting in line at a deli with a hundred numbers between the one on your ticket, and the one beneath the "serving customer #" sign. Just as you
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This above scenario may seem like an exaggeration, but in reality, institutions offer special services to patients who are wealthy and connected, or who are donors; hospitals label these patients as VIPs, or premier and give them preferential treatment ranging from specially prepared meals to expedited care. As a student nurse and a health care consumer, this practice bothers me, and I struggle justifying its ethicality. The four bioethical principles outlined in the Belmont Report (beneficence, non-maleficence, autonomy, and justice) are applied in a variety of ways when discussing health care delivery in the hospital setting, but narrowing the scope of these principles specifically to VIP health care shows that it challenges the core values of medicines, and poses ethical …show more content…
Mass General offers specialized exams for “executive patients’, and “a premier patient care unit” for those willing to pay extra (Massachusetts General Hospital). I think that these options challenge the bioethical principle of justice. Justice, with regards to health care, is the fair allocation of and accessibility to medical procedures, goods, and resources. If I were to work at Mass General and I was caring for a patient in the executive program, he or she would have access to senior staff members, and exam components like Electrocardiograms, chest X rays, and stress tests which are not normal components of regular exams; moreover, the Phillips House has "first-class amenities in a quiet, relaxed atmosphere... ensuring that patients and families receive comprehensive, personalized care focused on each patient’s individual needs" (Massachusetts General Hospital, 2016). Because not all patients can afford these option, they wouldn’t have the same level of access to advanced procedures or senior staff members. As a nurse following the principle of justice, I will need to provide personalized care to each of my patients, and be their advocate so that they receive the best possible and most timely care regardless of their ability to

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