Nursing Case Study Based On An Ethical Issue example

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Nursing Case Study Based On An Ethical Issue


In order to get support for ethical practices, nurses should be able to explicitly identify important relationships with families, patients, and communities. These elements are the foundations of ethical nursing. It is also important to note that ethics is more than having the best decision-making skills in times when crises arise and the naming of care issues properly (Cowen & Moorhead, 2014). One of the challenges in the nursing profession is to identify issues as ethical ones, as studies have shown that not all nurses are able to identify emerging issues as ethical issues (Parahoo, 2014). However, a precondition of practicing nursing ethically is being sensitive to the domain of practice that is considered moral, which is to recognize that the nature of everyday practice is fiduciary (Parahoo, 2014).

Cowen and Moorhead (2014) noted that the reluctance on the part of nurses in identifying relationships as foundations for ethical practice may lie in the numbing required to work in certain environments. For instance, when NICU staff were surveyed concerning ethical dilemmas and the connection of these dilemmas to their professional self, the main issue that was identified was the aggressive treatment of newborns “on the edge of viability” and the distressing moral implications of such treatments (Cowen & Moorhead, 2014). Nurses are subjected to morally distressing situations almost on an everyday basis (Parahoo, 2014).

In the given case, Louise was emotionally distressed because of the way that Sam reacted to the insulin shots. Furthermore, the distress caused by Sam’s reaction caused Louise to neglect her duty to provide the nightly dose of insulin. Sam subsequently developed diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA), which is a serious sequelae of the neglected dose of insulin. The legal and bioethical issues surrounding the case need to be discussed, as they are pertinent for similar cases that occur in real life. Moreover, understanding the legal and ethical issues of the case will allow for further understanding of the issues surrounding nursing care.

Legal Issues

In general, medical malpractice is the deemed negligence of the hospital and/or its staff to provide care, resulting in monetary, emotional, or physical damage to the patient (Ashley, 2004). The scope of medical malpractice includes nurses, physicians, and other healthcare professionals, although it has long been associated with doctors. The majority of individuals do not recognize that these issues are also prevalent in nursing practice. Indeed, statistics show that medical malpractice occurring in nursing practice has seen a significant increase in recent years (Ashley, 2004; Parahoo, 2014). Thus, nurses should be aware of the elements of medical malpractice in order to avoid lawsuits such as the one that Louise is facing.

In the case, the main legal issue is medical malpractice by the nurse, Louise. If Sam and his family take legal action, it is likely that Louise will be found negligent in terms of failure to provide the standard of care to Sam. In …

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