Contemporary Ethical Dilemmas: ethical concepts in the resolution of contemporary health care ethical dilemmas
Welcome to Module 2! There are a wide range of ethical and legal issues impacting the healthcare system. This module focuses on some of the more common ethical and legal dilemmas facing providers of health care. Special attention is given to end-of-life issues such as euthanasia, assisted suicide, advance directives, withdrawal of treatment and futility of treatment. Maternal versus fetal rights are discussed as well as issues pertaining to research, experimentation, and clinical trials. Contemporary ethical dilemmas presented in this module can then be examined in light of the ethical theories, principles, and values discussed in the previous module.
The amount of time required to complete assignments in this module is approximately 17 to 20 hours.
After completing this module, students should have the knowledge and skills to:
Apply ethical concepts in the resolution of contemporary health care ethical dilemmas
Debate the issues surrounding abortion, focusing on legal, ethical, and moral principles
Describe the ethical considerations that should be addressed before conducting research on human subjects
Distinguish among wrongful birth, wrongful life, and wrongful conception
Debate the issues surrounding euthanasia, focusing on legal, ethical, and moral principles
Differentiate between health care proxies and living wills
Compare and contrast among active and passive euthanasia and voluntary and involuntary euthanasia
Pozgar, G. D. (2013). Legal and ethical issues for health professionals (3rd ed.). Boston: Jones and Bartlett. (Chapters 2 and 3)
Ch 2: Contemporary Ethical Dilemmas
Ch 3: End of Life Dilemmas
An ethical dilemma arises in situations where a choice must be made between unpleasant alternatives. It can occur whenever a choice involves giving up something good and suffering something bad, no matter what course of action is taken. Ethical dilemmas often require caregivers to make decisions that may break some ethical norm or contradict some ethical value, and these dilemmas give rise to conflicting answers. There is a wide range of ethical and legal issues impacting the health care system. This module focused on some of the more common ethical and legal dilemmas facing the providers of health care.
The ethical concepts introduced in Module 1 were applied to real health care dilemmas such as abortion, artificial insemination, organ donation, wrongful birth, wrongful death, wrongful conception, human genetics, and stem cell research.
One of the most tension-producing, thought-provoking issues facing health care providers focuses on end-of-life issues. Although it is established that competent terminally ill may refuse life-sustaining treatment, physician-assisted suicide continues to raise much debate. Advances in medicine and related technologies have resulted from human creativity and ingenuity that have given society the power to prolong life; however, the process of dying also can be prolonged. Those victims of long-term pain and suffering, as well as patients in vegetative states and irreversible comas, are the most directly affected. This module reviewed many of the issues that inevitably come as one approaches the end of life.