Ethics In Health Care Issues Term Paper

Length: 4 pages Sources: 3 Subject: Healthcare Type: Term Paper Paper: #64889808 Related Topics: Medical Ethics, Critical Care, Medication Errors, Civil Liability
Excerpt from Term Paper :

Organizational Responsibilityand Current Healthcare Issues

Organizational Responsibility and Current Health Care Issues

Case Representation

Michel Boileau, chief clinical officer for St. Charles Health System said that a hospital in Bend Oregon administered incorrect medication to a patient, Loretta Macpherson, 65, and she passed away shortly following the administration of a paralyzing agent usually made use of during a surgery instead of anti-seizure medication. The doctor said that the patient's breathing stopped and brain damage and cardiac arrest followed. Investigation done looked at the entire process of medication: from the process of making orders of the drugs from the manufacturers, the mixing at the pharmacy, packaging and labeling and how the nurses get it and the administration to the patient. Weaknesses or gaps in the process were looked into to note the possibility of human error. Doctors had determined that the patient required phosphenyton, an intravenous anti-seizure medication, but rocuromin was accidentally administered and this resulted in Macpherson stopping breathing and a cardiac arrest occurring, causing an irreversible brain damage. Macpherson was taken off life support later on (CBS, 2014).

Ethical Issues Involved

The case above was against ethics of non-maleficence. This involves the avoidance of the causation of harm (Beauchamp & Childress, 2001). It is rested on the principle of primum non-nocere, that is, the provider has an obligation not to cause harm or injury to patients and not to take actions that can cause harm. This captures medical practice complexities. The practice's fallibility...


Moreover, tensions on the subjects of allowing to die vs. killing, withdrawal or withholding of life-sustaining treatments, intending and foreseeing harmful outcomes and the making of a choice between ordinary and extraordinary treatments is exposed (Hannawa, 2012). Adverse events do of course point to maleficent conduct due to the lack of prevention of harm. Nonetheless, failing to disclose or incompetently making disclosures can be considered maleficent too. Providers might make a decision to exercise "therapeutic privilege" and choose to not make a disclosure "for the benefit of the patient." A nondisclosure of that nature may lead to more harm if the required medication is delayed as a result (Hannawa, 2012: Beauchamp & Childress, 2001).

Also, the case was in contravention of the principle of beneficence which says that "one ought to help others." The principle's second notion of "preventing harm from occurring to others" was not followed. This is due to the nondisclosure as it can result I further harm to both the patient and their family (Hannawa, 2012).

Legal Issues Involved

The Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations, in the year 2001, required that all hospitals make disclosures concerning all unanticipated care outcomes to their patients and (in cases where appropriate) to their families. 5 years after this, the National Quality Forum advanced disclosure standards for healthcare institutions and professionals, making requiring that providers ought to disclose factual information, apologize for any medical errors and express regret. While the judiciary wasn't quick in their response to these advancements, not less than 34 states have seen apology laws adopted so that medics can apologize to their patients without fearing that the apology can be used as evidence against them in cases of negligence (Hannawa, 2012).

Tort system -- professional liability - presents the legal answer to the patient safety concerns. Indeed, professional liability legal rules are designed to meet two demands: the fair compensation of the victim affected by negligent care and the provision of incentives to professionals to make improvements in order to avoid paying damages (Kohn, Corrigan & Donaldson, 2000). Almost no one has criticized the principle…

Sources Used in Documents:


Anderson, P. & Townsend, T. (2010). Medication errors: Don't let them happen to you. American Nurse Today, Volume 5, Number 3, p 23-27

Beauchamp, T.L. & Childress, J.F. (2001).Principles of Biomedical Ethics. 5 thed. New York, NY: Oxford University Press.

CBS, (December 4, 2014). Hospital medication error kills patient in Oregon. Retrieved on July 11, 2015 from

Guillod, O. (2013). Medical error disclosure and patient safety: legal aspects. Journal of Public Health Research, 2(3), 182-185. doi:10.4081/jphr.2013.e31

Cite this Document:

"Ethics In Health Care Issues" (2015, July 27) Retrieved August 10, 2022, from

"Ethics In Health Care Issues" 27 July 2015. Web.10 August. 2022. <>

"Ethics In Health Care Issues", 27 July 2015, Accessed.10 August. 2022,

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