Laws and ethics
The ethical requirements in practice are guided by ethical principles of justice, beneficence, non-maleficence and autonomy while the legal aspect aligns to the laws of the land. This assignment will review a hypothetical case and identify legal and ethical stand points as well as discuss the process through which ethically sound decision would be established. Legal Issues If the family was to sue Dr Lin, the family would place a negligence charge against him for failing to exercise standard care in the assessment and management of Hetty (Subedi, 2017). Dr. Lin failed to show due diligence in the assessment of the patient by ignoring the conspicuous sins of pre-existing infection which was evidenced by elevated temperature and loss of cognitive abilities by the patient.
Damages is the element that links the breach of the duty of care to the injury or complication which can be compensated by monetary means. Causation is the establishment that the harm that occurred was directly as a result of the doctor’s action or inaction and were it not for such actions or lack of action, the damage would not have occurred(Sohn, 2013). The standard of proof in medical negligence cases in Australia is that the plaintiff is the balance of probabilities hence the plaintiff must proof that the harm could not have resulted if the doctor not been negligent. In Tabet v Gett the court ruled that the onus of proof lied with the plaintiff. The Volenti non fit injuria (no injury is done to one who voluntarily consents), is a defense that Dr Lin can use in the case (Nelson et al.
The risks of infection and other post-operative complications were high considering her condition, frailty due to age and risk due to infection due to a pre-existing condition(Mistry, Gaunay & Hoenig, 2017). Failure to conduct the surgery had minimal repercussions as the hernia only posed discomfort to the patient. The patient’s autonomy indicates that Hetty’s decisions and choice was to have the surgery done as soonest possible to alleviate her discomfort. The conflict between the two principles arise in that the healthcare workers are bid by the ethical stand that the patient’s autonomy is supreme and must be respected yet her choices are not in line with what treatment that would have been best at the time. In the case of Hetty whose decision-making ability was poor, the medical staff ought to in reference to the two principles act in the best interest of the patient.
In line with the ethical principle of beneficence, the risks outweigh the benefits for surgery. The ethical principle of non-maleficence also supports prevention of harm on the patient and in Hetty’s case ere is a high risk for harm if the surgery is done. Despite the risks the patient’s autonomy supports need for the surgery disregarding the risks. The possible courses of action are to respect the patient’s autonomy ad complete the surgery of to disregard the autonomy and provide conservative management to the patient. The conflict arises in the ethical principles of autonomy and beneficence. The interaction between the ethical and legal issues of care is unavoidable and hence the healthcare providers must be able to utilize ethical principles in decision making.
Patient care practice may result in ethical dilemma and hence considering implications from both legal and ethical perspective of care is essential to maximize the benefits. While the ethical-legal aspect provides the patient as well as the provider with avenues to support their decisions, team-based decision making is essential to enable objectivity and support in making sound decisions in care. References Berger, D. Evidence-Based Hernia Treatment in Adults. , & Hoenig, D. Prediction of surgical complications in the elderly: Can we improve outcomes? Asian Journal of Urology, 4(1), 44-49. doi: 10. 1016/j. ajur. Approach to Inguinal Hernia in High-risk Geriatric Patients: Should it be Elective or Emergent? Turkish Journal of Trauma and Emergency Surgery. doi: 10. 5505/tjtes. 36932 Papanikitas, A. , & Lunan, C. 1007/s10730-017-9325-4 Sohn, D.
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