Ethical Implications Of Ebola

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Ethical conflicts are inescapable in today’s healthcare setting. There are ethical implications in every aspect of the systems that affect healthcare and the way clinicians, patients and family members interact with it. Healthcare systems have a wide range of stakeholders, all with differing interests that can conflict. Political systems, economic factors, demographic changes, the influence of a culturally diverse world, and the clinical transformation that regulatory changes such as the Affordable Care Act imposes in the U.S. are just some of the factors that present challenges as well as opportunities to administrators and clinicians alike to provide ethical leadership. Diverse situations such as outbreaks of contagious diseases, decisions …show more content…
Decades later the virus causes an epidemic across the continent: Preying on poor sanitary conditions and public-health practices, it kills thousands and threatens millions. A worldwide pandemic seems imminent” (Siegel, 2014). This could describe both AIDS and Ebola and parallels are being drawn between two deadly diseases. Both emerged from Africa and caused an international health crisis. To consider the issue beyond U.S. borders, what ethical responsibility does the Sierra Leone government have to foreign healthcare workers that come to provide aid? Should the government institute mandatory Ebola testing before people leave the country? There is even debate in the medical community on whether to treat Ebola patients. “Medical ethicist Dr. Daniel Sokol says we should expect some healthcare staff to refuse to go work, wherever Ebola patients are being treated” (BBC, 2014). There is an ethical opportunity if history is examined and some of the issues surrounding the question “to treat or not to treat” can be alleviated. The Hippocratic Oath states that a physician “will follow that method of treatment which according to my ability and judgment, I consider for the benefit of my patient and abstain from whatever is harmful or mischievous (Hippocratic Oath (Modern Version))”. The medical community, after initial fear of AIDS subsided, came to the realization that patients with AIDS had a …show more content…
In 2013 an assisted living facility in California received nationwide attention when one of the staff members, a nurse, called 911 for a patient having a cardiac arrest but refused to comply with repeated requests to do CPR. Subsequently, the patient, 87 year old Lorraine Bayless died (Physicians News Digest, 2013). Glendale Gardens has a company policy in place that prevents employees from doing CPR and clearly the employee in question followed that policy to the detriment of the resident. How could a nurse, who is bound by ethics of her profession, refuse to give treatment? The nurse was hired in the capacity of Resident Services Director and not a direct care nurse but in my opinion, does not relieve her of her ethical responsibility. Some may argue that since the caller was a nurse, she had an ethical obligation to perform CPR. The American Nurses Association’s (ANA) code of ethics indicates that “The nurse is responsible and accountable for individual nursing practice and determines the appropriate delegation of tasks consistent with the nurse 's obligation to provide optimum patient care” (American Nurses Assocation, 2001). In a position statement, the ANA remarked that “RNs are fully accountable in all ambulatory care settings for all nursing services and associated patient outcomes provided under their direction” (Wayne Shelton, 2013).

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