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SUNY Upstate Weeks 3 & 4 Legal and Ethical Issues Case Studies Questions

SUNY Upstate Weeks 3 & 4 Legal and Ethical Issues Case Studies Questions

Weeks 3 & 4 Content Online Assignment

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Summer 2019

The learning objectives for this assignment are stated in the beginning of each chapter assigned (Textbook-Yoder-Wise, 6th edition)


Read the following case studies. Answer all the questions below related to each chapter assigned.

Chapter 4: Legal and Ethical Issues


Ethical and Critical Decision Making – Ethical and critical decision making requires the

ability to make distinctions between competing choices. The thinking process involved in

making such decisions can follow many formats, but in all cases, it is a deep-thinking process– sometimes called critical thinking. In complicated cases the use of ethical decision-making models can help clarify what the competing ethical principles are, and what information should be thinking about.

What goes into ethical decision making? Consider these five steps:

1. Is It an Ethical Issue? Being ethical does not always mean following the law. And just because something is possible doesn’t mean it is ethical, hence the global debates about biotechnology advances such as cloning. And ethics and religion do not always concur. This is perhaps the trickiest stage in ethical decision making, as sometimes the subtleties of the issue are above and beyond our knowledge and experience. Listen to your instincts – if it feels uncomfortable making the decision on your own, get others involved and use their collective knowledge and experience to make a more considered decision.

2. Get the Facts. What do you know, and just as importantly, what don’t you know? Who are the people affected by your decision? Have they been consulted? What are your options? Have you reviewed your options with someone you respect?

3. Evaluate Alternative Actions. There are different ethical approaches which may help you make the most ethical decision.

a. Utilitarian Approach – which action results in the most good and least harm?

b. Rights Based Approach – which action respects the rights of everyone involved?

c. Fairness or Justice Approach- which action treats people fairly?

d. Common Good Approach – which action contributes most to the quality of life of the people affected?

e. Virtue Approach – which action embodies the character strengths you value?

4. Test Your Decision. Could you comfortably explain your decision to your mother? To man in the street? On television? If not, you may have to re-think your decision before you take action.

5. Just Do It – Make a Decision and Go. Once you’ve made the decision, then don’t waste time in implementing it. Set a date to review your decision and make adjustments if necessary. Often decisions are made with the best information to hand at the time, but things change, and your decision making needs to be flexible enough to change too. Even a complete about face may be the most appropriate action further down the track.

Case Study 1

Nurse Smith has been working in the Critical Care Unit for 18 months. One evening John, a 40-year-old male patient, was admitted with a serious head injury. He has a history of mental illness and has been living with his 80-year-old parents for the last 15 years. After being on life support for 3 days his parents came to the Unit and stated they wanted everything stopped and to have him removed from life support. After taking the appropriate measures, the team began to remove the life supporting equipment. After removing his breathing tube, John opened his eyes and looked at his family. He said to them “Why are you trying to kill me?” As the nurse assigned to John, what would you do?T


Answer these questions:

Using the Ethical Decision-Making Framework as a guide above, think through the ethical issues in the scenario identified and determine what decision you would make.

Is It an Ethical Issue?

2. Get the Facts.

3. Evaluate Alternative Actions.

4. Test Your Decision.

5. Just Do It – Make a Decision. What did you decide and what did you learn?


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