Ethics in Healthcare—Theories and Principles

Ethics in Healthcare—Theories and Principles

Analyze the statements given below based on the topics covered in this week. Using the South University Online Library or the Internet, justify your answers with appropriate research and reasoning on the concepts covered in these questions.

Morrison (2009) suggested that ethical theories serve as an ethical toolbox a person may use in making an ethical decision. In the healthcare industry, an ethical issue you might face is the use of advanced directives and how and when to honor them if a person is declared brain dead. Morrison also points to the use of the five principles of ethics as another tool to help in ethical decision making. In this regard, answer the following questions:

-Choose any one of the ethical theories covered this week and discuss your thoughts on how this issue should be addressed. Why did you choose the theory you did and how can it be used to guide your decision?
-Which of the five principles is the most widely used and accepted in the current US healthcare system and why?
-Which principle is the most ignored principle and why?
(See below for a list of the ethical theories and also the five principles to answer the questions above)
After answering the above questions, read the following statement:

Rationing of care is a possible ethical issue you may face in the healthcare industry. Even in situations in which there is no official rationing, healthcare professionals make decisions about who to give care to. Examples of criteria for rationing include, but are not limited to, age, the ability to pay, and quality of life. Using ethical theory and the ethical principles you learned this week, answer the following questions:

-How would you choose to ration care?
-What criteria would you use to ration scarce medical services? Why did you choose these criteria?


Morrison, E. E. (2009). Health care ethics: Critical issues for the 21st century
(2nd ed.). Sudbury, MA: Jones and Bartlett Publishing.

(Use the information below to answer the first few questions)
***The five basic theories of medical ethics: Egoism, Virtue Ethics, Deontology, Consequentialism, and Unitarianism.

***Besides the basic theories of ethics, you can use one or more of the following five major ethical principles in making ethical decisions (Morrison, 2009):
•    Autonomy: It states that you should have the ability to act independently and make decisions for yourself.
•    Justice: It states that you should remain fair both in procedures and in resource allocation.
•    Beneficence: It states that you should act with both charity and kindness toward people you encounter.
•    Nonmaleficence: It states that you should try to ensure you do not harm anyone.
•    Rights: It states that people have a legal reason for why they feel they are entitled to something.

Prof. Angela


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