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PHI FPX 3200 Assessment 5 Tonya’s Case: Ethics and Professional Codes

PHI FPX 3200 Assessment 5: Tonya’s Case

Student name: Tonya

Capella University

FPX 3200

Dr. Name

May 13th, 2024

Tonya’s Case: Ethics and Professional Codes

A teenage girl named Tonya Archer underwent surgery at the hospital to repair her ACL tear. Unfortunately, she experienced cardiac arrest during the transfer and ultimately succumbed to brain death due to lack of blood flow. While doctors recommended removing Tonya from life support, her parents argued that she was still alive as her body remained warm and her heart continued to beat. This scenario highlights the ethical and moral dilemmas that arise in end-of-life situations, with hospital administrators and medical ethicists questioning the efficacy and ethical considerations of Tonya’s continued therapy.

Ethical Principles and Moral Theories

The ethical principles of autonomy, beneficence, non-maleficence, and justice are relevant in Tonya’s case. Autonomy pertains to the patient’s right to make treatment decisions, with Tonya’s parents advocating on her behalf. However, parental autonomy doesn’t justify insisting on futile or harmful therapy. Beneficence requires healthcare professionals to act in the patient’s best interests, leading them to conclude that continuing Tonya’s therapy isn’t beneficial as she’s unlikely to recover. Non-maleficence dictates that treatment should avoid causing harm, making the decision to discontinue therapy necessary to prevent further suffering (Rao, 2020). Finally, justice ensures fair and equitable medical decisions unaffected by factors like socioeconomic status, as evidenced by the impartiality of the medical judgment in this case (Nandifa et al., 2020).

Moral Theory for the Case

In Tonya’s case, utilitarianism offers a framework for assessing the ethical implications of continuing or discontinuing life support. Considering the potential consequences of each option, maintaining Tonya on life support would not result in any joy or benefit for her while consuming valuable medical resources that could be allocated elsewhere. Removing life support would bring an immediate and irreversible cessation of suffering for Tonya and alleviate the strain on medical resources, aligning with the principle of non-maleficence and maximizing overall happiness.

Although the decision to remove life support may cause anguish for Tonya’s family and loved ones, it ultimately minimizes overall suffering and maximizes collective well-being. While acknowledging the complexity of the situation, a utilitarian analysis suggests that discontinuing life support would be ethically justified, as it leads to the greatest happiness or pleasure for most individuals involved (Vearrier, 2021).

Application of Professional Code of Ethics

The ethical guidelines outlined in professional codes of conduct serve as pillars for the medical community, guiding healthcare professionals in their duties towards patients (Häyry, 2020). Drawing from the Code of Medical Ethics of the American Medical Association, principles such as non-maleficence, which emphasizes the importance of avoiding harm, and autonomy, granting patients the right to make medical decisions, are pivotal in Tonya’s case. Acting as Tonya’s surrogate decision-makers, her parents must consider her best interests in line with these principles, particularly as the medical team advises discontinuing life support due to the absence of potential benefits and the risk of prolonging suffering.

Furthermore, the principle of beneficence underscores the obligation of healthcare professionals to act in the best interests of their patients. In assessing Tonya’s condition, the medical staff determined that further treatment would not serve her well-being but rather exacerbate her suffering, aligning with the principle of beneficence. Therefore, the decision to withdraw life support, rooted in considerations of beneficence, autonomy, and non-maleficence, reflects a conscientious adherence to professional ethics, with healthcare providers committed to upholding Tonya’s welfare while respecting her parents’ advocacy for her care (Ebbs et al., 2020)

Use of Organizational Documents

In healthcare organizations, foundational documents such as purpose and value statements are guiding principles for decision-making processes. The hospital’s mission statement underscores its commitment to delivering high-quality care while prioritizing patient safety and well-being (Nandifa et al, 2020). In aligning with this mission, the decision to remove Tonya’s life support is rooted in the imperative to alleviate her suffering, as continued treatment offers little benefit and may prolong her distress. The hospital’s values, encompassing integrity, respect, and compassion, endorse the compassionate and respectful action of discontinuing life support in Tonya’s case, recognizing it as the most humane choice given her irreversible condition.

The hospital’s policies and procedures outline the process for making end-of-life decisions, which likely involves consultation with ethical committees and engagement with the patient’s surrogate decision-maker (Collings et al, 2020). By adhering to these established protocols, the medical team ensures a thorough and ethically sound approach to decision-making, culminating in the collective agreement to remove Tonya from life support. Ultimately, the medical staff’s decision reflects their dedication to upholding the hospital’s commitment to delivering high-quality care and prioritizing patient welfare, underscoring their adherence to professional standards and ethical principles (Minicuci et al., 2020).

Role of Accrediting Bodies

Accreditation agencies play a crucial role in ensuring that healthcare organizations deliver safe, effective, and high-quality care to patients. These agencies establish standards and conduct assessments to evaluate compliance within healthcare institutions. In Tonya’s situation, the hospital’s accreditation status holds significance in determining the appropriateness of removing her from life support. For instance, accrediting bodies like The Joint Commission set stringent criteria for patient care, safety, and quality, conducting thorough evaluations to ascertain adherence to these benchmarks. Hospitals earn accreditation by meeting these requirements, indicating their commitment to maintaining high standards of care (Luna et al, 2021).

Given the gravity of decisions surrounding end-of-life care, the hospital’s accreditation status carries weight in guiding such determinations (Alhamd, 2023).  Compliance with accreditation standards, including protocols for withdrawing life-sustaining treatments, is imperative for healthcare organizations seeking accreditation Molina & Gallo, 2020). As the medical team operates within the bounds of professional judgment and ethical principles, their decision to discontinue Tonya’s life support aligns with these standards (Shamsi et al., 2020).  Upholding accreditation requirements not only ensures patient safety and quality of care but also reflects a commitment to ethical obligations and patient-centered practices.

PHI FPX 3200 Assessment 5 Tonya’s Case: Ethics and Professional Codes Conclusion

In conclusion, the hospital’s accreditation status serves as a crucial factor in guiding decisions regarding end-of-life care, including the decision to remove Tonya from life support. Compliance with accreditation standards not only reflects a commitment to patient safety and quality of care but also underscores adherence to ethical principles and patient-centered practices. By ensuring alignment with accreditation requirements, healthcare organizations uphold their duty to provide safe, efficient, and high-quality treatment to patients like Tonya, ultimately prioritizing their well-being and dignity.

PHI FPX 3200 Assessment 5 Tonya’s Case: Ethics and Professional Codes References

Alahmad, G., Alshahrani, K. M., Alduhaim, R. A., Alhelal, R., Faden, R. M., & Shaheen, N. A. (2023). Awareness of medical professionals regarding research ethics in a tertiary care hospital in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia: A survey to assess training needs. Healthcare, 11(20), 2718. https://doi.org/10.3390/healthcare11202718

Collings, D., Townsend, R., & Williams, B. (2022). Professional codes of conduct: A scoping review. Nursing ethics, 29(1), 19–34. https://doi.org/10.1177/09697330211008634

Ebbs, P., Carver, H., & Moritz, D. (2020). Principlism in paramedicine: An examination of applied healthcare ethics. Journal of Paramedic Practice, 12(8), 1–6. https://doi.org/10.12968/jpar.2020.12.8.cpd1

Häyry, M. (2020). Just better utilitarianism. Cambridge Quarterly of Healthcare Ethics, 30(2), 1–25.
https://doi.org/10.1017/S0963180120000882

Luna, A., Godoy, N., Calvache, J. A., Díaz, E., Gempeler, F. E., Morales, O., Leal, F., Gómez, C., & Vries, E. (2021). Decision making in the end-of-life care of patients who are terminally ill with cancer: A qualitative descriptive study with a phenomenological approach from the experience of healthcare workers. BMC Palliative Care, 20(1).
https://doi.org/10.1186/s12904-021-00768-5

Minicuci, N., Giorato, C., Rocco, I., Lloyd, P., Avruscio, G., & Cardin, F. (2020). Survey of doctors’ perception of professional values. PLoS ONE, 15(12). https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0244303

Molina, J., & Gallo, J. (2020). Impact of nurse-patient relationship on quality of care and patient autonomy in decision-making. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 17(3), 835. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17030835

Nandifa, V. N. P., Jena, Y., & Joewana, S. (2020). Beneficence is the highest moral imperative of a doctor dealing with the poor quality of patient autonomy. The Indonesian Journal of Medical Education, 9(1), 44. https://doi.org/10.22146/jpki.44511

Rao P. R. (2020). Ethical considerations for healthcare organizations. Seminars in Speech and Language, 41(3), 266–278. https://doi.org/10.1055/s-0040-1710323

Shamsi, E., Parsapoor, A., Asghari, F., Parsa, M., Saeedinejad, Y., Biroudian, S., Fadavi, M., Khalajzadeh, M. R., Namazi, H. R., Ghasemzadeh, N., Omani, R., Milanifar, A., Raoofi, A., Rouhbakhsh, S., Mousavi, M. S., Zali, A., Fazel, I., Zafarghandi, M. R., Idani, E., & Moin, M. (2020). Developing “Code of ethics for medical professionals, medical council of Islamic Republic of Iran”. Archives of Iranian Medicine, 23(10), 658–664. https://doi.org/10.34172/aim.2020.83

Vearrier, L., & Henderson, C. M. (2021). Utilitarian principlism as a framework for crisis healthcare ethics. HEC Forum, 33(1), 45–60. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10730-020-09431-7

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