Ethical Paper Scenario

Your patient tells you that due to her religious beliefs she would rather die than receive any blood products that could help her to recover from her illness.


Patients have the right to decide on the type of care that they receive and how they receive the care. Religion and spirituality are a critical part of healthcare that affects patients’ choices and affects the recovery process after an illness. The case above causes an ethical dilemma to the healthcare professional responsible for the patient. The patient argues that they would prefer to die other than take blood products that could help her in her recovery. The rationale is that the patient’s religious believes do not allow such practices. The ethical issue arises on whether the healthcare provider should allow the patient to die from her condition or offer the patient the required medication against their will.

The issue is important as it affects the patient’s health and life and the responsibility that the healthcare provider has towards the patient.  The issue is important as it involves healthcare ethical principles that often leave healthcare providers in a dilemma. There is a need to understand how to handle the issue to make better and informed decisions. The purpose of this paper will be to identify the ethical principles that are related to the case, such as autonomy, beneficence, and non-maleficence, among others.

Key Ethical Principles

The major key ethical principle that is evident in the case study is that of autonomy. The principle states that the patient has the freedom to make their medical decisions and determine the direction of their treatment. In this case, the patient will have the right to refuse any blood products due to their faith. Autonomy requires healthcare providers to respect the patient and respect their values while giving them freedom from coercion.  Therefore, the patient can refuse treatment and consent to other treatment alternatives that are in line with their values. The patient in the case study seems to be of age to make their own decisions (Black, 2020, pp. 347-48). Therefore, the healthcare providers have to respect her wishes even though her condition is life-threatening.

The other principle that applies to the case is that of beneficence. It is defined as doing what is good for the patient at all times. It raises a dilemma to nurses, and other healthcare providers as what is good for the patient might be against their beliefs or cultures. In the case study, the principle of beneficence goes against the principle of autonomy, leaving the nurse in a dilemma of doing what is best for the patient or heeding the wants of the patient. In such a case, the nurse should avoid acting paternalistically and remember that the patient has the right to make the final decision about their care (Black, 2020, pp. 348-49).

The other code of ethics that applies to the case is that of fidelity. The principle holds that all nurses are responsible for their actions and must be faithful in keeping their promises to the patients that are under their care. The principle requires practitioners to respect all individuals and uphold the Code of Ethics that governs the nursing practice (Black, 2020, p. 354).  Fidelity is critical in fostering a patient-nurse relationship. In this case, the nurse should ensure that they create a good rapport with the patient and respect the patient as a person and respect their morals, values, and cultures. In the case scenario given above, the patient, therefore, has the right to make a decision to refuse treatment, and through the principle of fidelity, the nurse or healthcare professional should respect the decision.

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