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Posted: September 4th, 2023

Ethical Dilemma in Terminal Liver Cancer Care: A Methodical Approach

GCU HLT 520 Week 1 Ethical Study Review


Scenario: A 96-year-old male patient is admitted to the ICU with terminal liver cancer. He is confused and disoriented, very skinny and appears underfed, and is covered with bruises, which are common in patients with liver disorders. His daughter, who is a naturopathic physician, insists that she can cure her father by administering unknown substances, some of which smell like feces and look like tar, down his NG tube. He is clearly in pain after she does this. She insists that these are life-saving interventions on her part, but the nursing and physician staff caring for the patient are very upset and concerned that she is hastening his death. They have come to you for help.

1) Write a paper (1,250-1,500 words) that describes how to use the method of ethical decision making, reviewed in the module, to help resolve this ethical dilemma. Address the following to generate your conclusions about how you would proceed:

a) What are the dimensions of the ethical dilemma?
b) What are the issues?
c) Apply the four core ethical principles and the process of ethical decision making.
2) Prepare this assignment according to the APA guidelines found in the APA Style Guide, located in the Student Success Center. An abstract is not required.

3) This assignment uses a grading rubric. Instructors will be using the rubric to grade the assignment; therefore, students should review the rubric prior to beginning the assignment to become familiar with the assignment criteria and expectations for successful completion of the assignment.

Ethical Dilemma in Terminal Liver Cancer Care: A Methodical Approach

In healthcare, ethical dilemmas often arise when different perspectives clash, making it challenging to determine the best course of action. This paper aims to address an ethical dilemma involving a 96-year-old male patient with terminal liver cancer. The patient’s daughter, a naturopathic physician, insists on administering unknown substances, which raise concerns among the nursing and physician staff. By applying the method of ethical decision making, this paper will explore the dimensions of the ethical dilemma, identify the key issues, and utilize the four core ethical principles to propose a resolution.

I. Dimensions of the Ethical Dilemma:
The ethical dilemma in this scenario encompasses various dimensions, including:

A. Autonomy: The patient’s daughter claims the authority to make decisions regarding her father’s care, based on her profession, while the medical staff questions her actions.
B. Beneficence: The daughter believes that her interventions will cure her father’s terminal illness, whereas the medical staff suspects that her actions may be hastening his death.
C. Non-maleficence: The medical staff is concerned that the daughter’s interventions are causing the patient pain and potentially exacerbating his condition.
D. Justice: The conflict arises between the daughter’s alternative treatment approach and the conventional medical care recommended by the healthcare professionals.

II. Key Issues:
Several key issues arise from the ethical dilemma presented:

A. Patient Safety: The patient’s well-being is at stake due to the administration of unknown substances that cause him pain and discomfort.
B. Competence and Expertise: The daughter’s qualifications as a naturopathic physician are questioned in relation to her father’s care, prompting concerns about her competence and expertise.
C. Medical Professional Autonomy: The nursing and physician staff face a challenge in upholding their professional standards while respecting the patient’s autonomy and the daughter’s opinions.
D. Communication and Collaboration: There is a need for effective communication and collaboration between the daughter and the medical staff to ensure a patient-centered approach.

III. Applying the Ethical Decision-Making Process:
To address this ethical dilemma, the following steps of the ethical decision-making process can be applied:

A. Identify the Problem: The problem lies in the conflicting approaches to the patient’s care, where the daughter’s alternative treatments are causing concern among the medical staff.
B. Gather Information: Collect comprehensive information regarding the patient’s condition, the daughter’s treatment methods, and the potential risks and benefits associated with each approach.
C. Identify Ethical Principles: Apply the four core ethical principles:

Respect for Autonomy: Respect the patient’s right to make decisions about his own care while considering his capacity to do so.
Beneficence: Seek actions that promote the patient’s well-being and aim to achieve the best possible outcomes.
Non-maleficence: Avoid actions that may cause harm to the patient.
Justice: Strive for fairness and equity in the allocation of healthcare resources and decision-making processes.
D. Explore Options: Collaboratively generate and evaluate different courses of action that respect the ethical principles identified.
E. Consider Consequences: Assess the potential outcomes of each option, considering the patient’s best interests, potential harm, and the long-term implications for all involved parties.
F. Make a Decision: Choose the course of action that adheres to the ethical principles, maximizes patient well-being, and upholds professional integrity.
G. Implement the Decision: Develop a plan to execute the chosen course of action, ensuring effective communication and collaboration with the daughter and the medical staff.
H. Evaluate the Decision: Continuously monitor and assess the outcomes of the chosen approach, making adjustments as needed to ensure the

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