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Applying Ethical Principles

Learner’s Name

Capella University

NHS4000: Developing a Health Care Perspective

Instructor Name

August, 2020


Copyright ©2020 Capella University. Copy and distribution of this document are prohibited.

Applying Ethical Principles

Health care professionals often face ethical problems during their practice that require

them to use their moral values and principles when making decisions. The four fundamental

principles of health care ethics—autonomy, beneficence, nonmaleficence, and justice—act as

yardsticks for fair and ethical decision-making. These ethical principles are widely accepted in

the field of health care. Medical practitioners and health care administrators often use these

principles to make decisions when faced with complex situations involving patients.

Overview of the Case Study

Betsy is a dedicated pediatric nurse known for the care and concern she shows her

patients. Her neighbor and friend, Alice, lives with her husband and 4-year-old daughter, Shirley.

Alice and her husband are followers of Christian Science, a belief that advocates spiritual healing

and discourages most types of medical intervention. One day, when visiting Alice and Shirley,

Betsy sees Shirley experience what seems like a seizure. The child suddenly becomes

unresponsive and has a brief staring spell, with her eyes rolling upward. The episode lasts for 20

seconds, during which she seems completely unaware of her surroundings. While Shirley is

having the seizure, Alice sits by her side and prays but takes no other action. Betsy is concerned

about the little girl’s condition and probes her friend for details. Alice tells Betsy that Shirley

used to have around 15–20 such episodes a day until a few months ago; this has now reduced to

about 12. Alice attributes the improvement in Shirley’s health to her prayers and faith. However,

this does not help Betsy feel comfortable about Shirley’s condition. She is almost certain that

Shirley has epilepsy, which, if not treated on time, could have profound health implications. At

the very least, she thinks Alice should have Shirley’s symptoms accurately diagnosed.

Understanding the gravity of the situation, Betsy sets up a meeting with Shirley’s parents

and Dr. Campbell, director of the neurology department at her hospital. She treats this meeting as


Copyright ©2020 Capella University. Copy and distribution of this document are prohibited.

an intervention, and both she and Dr. Campbell express their concern for Shirley’s health. They

stress on the fact that the improvement in Shirley’s symptoms does not necessarily mean she will

be cured. They empathize with Alice and her husband’s reluctance on account of their religious

faith but reiterate the importance of getting Shirley’s sDevelop a solution to a specific ethical dilemma faced by a health care professional by applying ethical principles. Describe the issues and a possible solution in a 3-5 page paper.
Length: 3–5 typed, double-spaced pages, not including the title page and reference page.
Font and font size: Times New Roman, 12 point.
APA tutorial: Use the APA Style Paper Tutorial [DOCX] for guidance.
Written communication: Use correct spelling, grammar, and punctuation.
References: Integrate information from outside sources to include at least two references (the case study and an academic peer-reviewed journal article) and three in-text citations within the paper.


Whether you are a nurse, a public health professional, a health care administrator, or in another role in the health care field, you must base your decisions on a set of ethical principles and values. Your decisions must be fair, equitable, and defensible. Each discipline has established a professional code of ethics to guide ethical behavior. In this assessment, you will practice working through an ethical dilemma as described in a case study. Your practice will help you develop a method for formulating ethical decisions.

**** Case Study: To Vaccinate or NOT?

Jenna and Chris Smith are the proud parents of Ana, a 5–day–old baby girl born without complications at Community Hospital. Since delivery, the parents have bonded well with Ana and express their desire to raise her as naturally as possible. For the Smiths, this means breastfeeding exclusively for the first six months, making their own baby food using pureed organic foods, and not allowing Ana to be vaccinated.

The Smiths are college educated and explain they have researched vaccines and decided the potential harms caused by them far outweigh any benefits. They point to the rise in autism rates as proof of the unforeseen risk of vaccines. Their new pediatrician, Dr. Angela Kerr, listens intently to the Smiths’ description of their research, including online mommy–blogs that detail how vaccines may have caused autism in many children. The Smiths conclude by resolutely stating they’ve decided not to vaccinate Ana, despite the recommendations of the medical community.

Dr. Kerr begins by stating that while vaccines have certainly sparked controversy in recent years, she strongly recommends that Ana become fully vaccinated. Dr. Kerr explains that vaccines have saved the lives of millions of children worldwide and have been largely responsible for decreases in child mortality over the past century. For example, the decreased incidence of infection with the potentially fatal Haemophilus influenzae type b, has resulted from routine immunization against that bacterium. Similarly, epidemics such as the recent outbreak of measles are usually associated with individuals who have not been vaccinated against that pathogen.

Dr. Kerr goes on to endorse the general safety of vaccines by informing Ana’s parents that safety profiles of v

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