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Death and Dying Medical Ethics

University: The Open University

  • Unit No: 9
  • Level: Undergraduate/College
  • Pages: 6 / Words 1500
  • Paper Type: Assignment
  • Course Code: M/508/9860
  • Downloads: 867
Question :

The objective of this report is to determine understanding over correctly identifying the ethical issues that may impact organisational policy and practices. In this regard, it is needed to analyse strength and weaknesses of such principles.

  • Evaluate ethical dilemmas associated with death.
  • Analyse ethical issues at the end of life.
  • Determine how to communicate complex ideas, information as well as issues effectively.
  • Discuss the needs of dying and bereaved people.
Answer :
Organization Selected : FISH Company


Health and social care sector works on ethics. These ethical aspects describe difference between right and wrong. Each medical professional is required to follow these ethical aspects in an appropriate manner while providing care to the patients. They have to deal properly with the people who are going to die soon (Beauchamp, 2016). Ethical aspects play significant role in end-of-life care system. Present study will describe Beauchamp and Childress approaches. It will explain medical ethics that might cause conflict when caring for dying people.


Ethical dilemmas associated with death

Death of human being is inevitable occurrence. In the recent time, technologies have been upgraded, these technological advancement have changed scenario of natural death. Medical professionals have to behave with patients appropriately. It is their moral responsibility to tell right thing about their health all the time (Neighbour, 2017). One of the main ethical dilemmas in HSC is “right to die and duty to tell truth”. When patients ask with the professionals about their health condition and how long it will take time to get recovered, then if the person's situation is critical and individual is going to die soon then in such condition, it becomes difficult for the practitioners to tell truth to the person about their medical condition. Ethical dilemma occurs in the situation when there are two major ethical standards but they conflict with each other in specific situation (Gillon, 2015).

Ethical dilemmas can be defined as conflict situation that get arise in-front of medical professionals while treating care users. Another major ethical dilemma that occurs in health and social care sector (HSC) is miscommunication. It is very important for the doctors to communicate properly about medical condition of patients. This helps the person in making own in regarding treatment (Beauchamp, 2016). But if condition of the person is serious, then medical professional get failed to coordinate well with the care users and they have to provide them treatment without informing them.

Beauchamp and Childress’ four principles approach

Beauchamp and Childress have given several principles of biomedical ethics. Four major principles are: Autonomy, Beneficence, non-maleficence and justice. One of the main principles is Autonomy. It is considered as an essential moral ethic which describes the principle of respect. Medical professionals have to give respect to the patients (Principles of Bioethics. 2017). Each person has right to make their own choice. No one can force these people to make their own decision. Thus, in the HSC, medical professionals have to treat them well and have to provide them respect so that patients can make their own decision at the end of their life. Principle of autonomy is considered standard of informed consent (Principles of Bioethics, 2017). Each practitioner has to follow this principle as they cannot provide any kind of treatment to the person without informing them about their care procedure. Until patient gives their concern in the written form doctors cannot provide them any kind of treatment. All hospitals fist signs the consent form from the patients or their family members. After completing all documentation they provide them care so that condition of the person can be improved soon (Butler and et.al., 2016).

This principle states that patient needs to be competent and be able to understand the consequences of consent. Individual needs to be able to make their own decisions. But it is also necessary that health care professionals make their patients and family members clearly describe all information before they sign this consent form. It is essential for the care providers that to help concern person in making sound decision. They have to make them aware benefits and consequences of each option so that family members can make their choice effectively (Sharif and Bugo, 2015).

Next principle of Beauchamp and Childress approach is beneficence and non-maleficence. Principle of beneficence explains that medical professionals have to behave equally with all patients. They have to always treat them god. Principle of non-maleficence explains that doctors have to adopt such practices that can keep the patient protected from harm. Both these principles emphases on interest of patients (Magelssen, Pedersen and Førde, 2016). Non-maleficence approach describes that medical professionals have to take care of environment and they have to create safe environment and they should not create any kind of injury to the care users. Medical mistake make occur in the health and social care sector but medical professionals have to ensure that they fulfil their commitment and protect patients and their rights (Neighbour, 2017).

Principle of beneficence means it is duty of medical professionals that they have to work for the benefit of patients. They are responsible to take appropriate action that can prevent people from harm and injuries. Moreover, they have to first examine the situation of care users properly and have to give them appropriate medicine that can improve their health (Principles of Bioethics, 2017). Fourth principle of Beauchamp and Childress approach is justice. It can be defined as form of fairness. Practitioners have to treat these people fairly and there should not be any kind of discrimination.


Case of Maisie reflects conflict, She is 79 year old lady. She has lost her husband. Before her husband’s death, she was taking treatment for cancer and just recovered. She is also suffering from back pain (Principles of Bioethics. 2017). Recently, she has been admitted to hospital because of fractured in her hip. Lately, mental condition of Maisie is not good thus, her family members have requested with nurses that to include them in discussion of her treatment. It has been examined that major cause of cancer is her emergency registrar suspects bone cancer. She was asking with nurses regarding her condition (Sharif and Bugo, 2015). As principle of Beauchamp and Childress state that medical professionals have to disclose truth about the patient's medical problems. They cannot hide anything from them.

This is the situation that where Beauchamp and Childress principles approach to medical ethics are creating conflicts for the dying people. There is required to follow autonomy principle, Nurse is required to give full respect to the wish of the lady. But saying truth about her medical condition might be harmful for Maisie and it can cause stress in her life. There is required to wait until her condition gets improved little (Beauchamp, 2016). The conflict of interest in case is that whether family members wishes needed to be include in particular situation because still bone cancer has not be diagnosed. In such condition, Maisie might argue with the medical professional to share information about her medical situation. As all people those who are in the same situation get to know about their critical situation and doctors make them aware what kind of treatment they can recover (Principles of Bioethics. 2017). But in Maisie’s case, fairness and justices principles might create conflicts because she might take stress which may cause death to the lady. There are many situations in which two principles can create conflict situation (Principles of Bioethics, 2017). For medical professionals it is very essential to disclose every information with patients but the person whose condition is critical if this information is being disclosed, then it might create harm for the person. Thus, it can create battle state in health and social care sector (Butler and et.al., 2016).

Another principle of Beauchamp and Childress approach is to take such decision that may be right for the care users. In the case of Dennis, this standard has created conflict in HSC (Beauchamp, 2016). Dennis wishes to stop treatment with ventilation mask. Autonomous principle states that medical professionals have to give respect to the patients and their decisions. In this case, Finona and Rob have argued that cause of death is her illness. If doctors stop her ventilator and she dies, then it is not their mistake. It is argued that there is no difference between killing and letting die if end result is completely same. In this case, it is examined that major reason of death is her illness (Henning and et.al., 2016).

Autonomy principles gives right to the person to make their decisions by own. Each person has right to make independent decisions for their own welfare. Their judgement cannot be influenced by other medical professionals or nurses. There are many patients those who are suffering from critical situation.

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