Nurse Accountability – Consent for Catheterisation, Professional Law and Ethics.

3773 Words Feb 8th, 2010 12 Pages
An elderly lady, 78 year old Mrs Jones was admitted to the unit from a local nursing home following an acute myocardial infarction. In order to gain in my clinical skills experience I was asked to accompany and observe the staff nurse who was to carry out the catheterisation. The nurse told Mrs Jones that she was just going to pop a catheter in. There were no explanatory details towards Mrs Jones about what the procedure precisely entailed, and she was not informed of the risks or benefits. Therefore Mrs Jones was unable to ask any questions, or express any fears or anxieties. On commencement of the catheterisation Mrs Jones was quite clearly very distressed by what was happening to her. She was lashing out at the staff nurse, shouting "no …show more content…
A statement was made in the case of Schloendorff v. Society of New York Hospital (1914) in that "every human being of adult years and sound mind has a right to determine what shall be done with his own body, and a surgeon who performs an operation without a patient 's consent commits a battery". Consent therefore ensures respect for the patient 's autonomy.

The nurse catheterising Mrs Jones clearly took away any right that Mrs Jones had to determine what should be done to her own body. Mrs Jones specifically refused the proposed procedure and there was no consent at all, yet the catheterisation still went ahead. As long as the patient is deemed competent and understands what risks she runs, she has a legal right to refuse treatment, even if that refusal will result in her death (Re T 1992). One possibility that the nurse did not gain Mrs Jones 's consent could have been that she deemed Mrs Jones incompetent. If this was the case the nurse should not have carried out the catheterisation and consulted the doctor who would have taken the three-stage test laid down in the case of R C. (1994) in order to ensure competence of Mrs Jones.

Mrs Jones was never given the opportunity to understand the risks or benefits, as these were never disclosed. Maybe if they had been explained to her, she might willingly have consented to the procedure. Consequently, Fletcher et al (1995) says that the nurse 's contact with Mrs Jones constitutes the tort of battery, whether or not any

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