Contemporary Nursing Issues. Legal and Ethical Issues in Healthcare

Essay, 2016

7 Pages, Grade: 67.00


Legal and Ethical Issues in Healthcare

End-of-life Issues

In patient-centered care, end of life is one of the most important aspects of health care systems. Advanced nursing and medical studies have increased the knowledge regarding the process of dying, giving the humans the privilege of selecting the method, location and approximate period of death. Similarly, intervening in the death process can also increase the lifespan of a person, even when there is little hope of living longer or full recovery. Despite the vast knowledge of mortality, there are still contemporary end-of-life issues that remain contradictory among different cultures.

One of the primary reasons why end-of-life issues have not been sufficiently addressed is because of different values held by various religions, cultures and beliefs. Life is highly valued in most of the cultures and religious groups. It is believed that only the Supreme Being is allowed to take, give or control how long a person is supposed to live. Moreover, there are high emotions that are often attached to people since the death of a person means complete extraction of the physical presence of a person. Thus, such emotions and cultural beliefs are the major hindrances that cripple the smooth readdress of end-of-life (Guido, 2014).

Passive Euthanasia and Physician-Assisted Suicide

Physician-assisted suicide is used to describe a process where a registered general practitioner provides the means of dying to the patient. This is often achieved through the prescription of certain substances. The patient administers the rather medication to him or herself, initiating the death procedure (Dworkin, 2008). In some cases, the physician may act directly in the administration of the extreme medication to terminate the life of a person. On the other hand, allowing patients to die, or passive euthanasia involves withholding medication, treatment or withdrawing life support machines with the primary aim of achieving death of a person. There are, however, strict procedures that must be observed so as to reduce any liabilities to the individuals or practitioners involved in the process.

Allowing a person to die naturally does not interfere with the death process. In fact, it can be termed as a natural death, when medication or further treatment is withheld to allow nature take its course. On the other hand, physician-assisted suicide quickens the death process through the administered substances. In both cases, an ethical or legal death, whether it is passive euthanasia or physician-assisted suicide requires the consent of the patient or the surrogate person who is either the next-of-kin of the patient or allowed by the courts to make such decision on behalf of the emaciating patient.

HIV/AIDS disclosure Issues in Health Care

Traditionally, HIV/AIDS has been associated with stigmatization, bullying and various stereotypes across the world. This is one of the primary reasons why HIV/AIDS tests are done in private and are often considered highly confidential. Stigmatization of people living with this virus has been rampant and obstructs interventions programs. In addition to this, all patients are entitled to privacy and confidentiality regarding their personal health status at any given time. The difference between other common diseases is that they are widely cured and have been accepted positively by the society, such that it is not an issue when disclosing their details, for instance, a common cold and cancer. AIDS, on the other hand, has traditionally been viewed negatively, until recently. Nonetheless, full disclosure is a personal right (Pozgar, 2013).

Subsequently, the controversy that surrounds AIDS and caregivers is sophisticated. Whereas caregivers are entitled to confidentiality of their HIV status, the patient has the right to know and understand the risks associated with the process. Moreover, doctors have the primary role in curbing the spread of HIV/AIDS. This nurtures a controversy that stretches the right to privacy and confidentiality of the caregiver and the right to quality and risk-free treatment of the patient. Profiling the caregivers according to their HIV/AIDS status amounts to discrimination that eventually lead to stigmatization. Also, placing the patient in the dark regarding the risks involved violates the codes of ethics of the nursing practice (Pozgar, 2013).


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Contemporary Nursing Issues. Legal and Ethical Issues in Healthcare
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Health, Healthcare, Nursing, Nursing Science, Legal, Ethics, Health care system, Death
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Leonard Kahungu (Author), 2016, Contemporary Nursing Issues. Legal and Ethical Issues in Healthcare, Munich, GRIN Verlag,


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