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Introduction Ethical decision-making is a process where one decides on a course of action based on ethical and professional principles. The ethical principles of autonomy, beneficence, justice and nonmaleficence are often brought into consideration in ethical dilemmas. Healthcare professionals often use these ethical principles as a premise to make morally sound judgements on care provision. Ethical dilemmas surface when these principles conflict with one another. The correct course of action is not clearly defined and the decisions made may be challenged. Decisions made on moral grounds are often intrinsically complex and intricate. This essay will cover the principles of distributive justice, autonomy, and beneficence. Drawing…show more content…
In summary, the principle of distributive justice requires that one allocates resources in a fair manner based on the distribution of benefits and burden. In healthcare, finite resources necessitate that care has to be rationed on ground of need and this may conflict with the rights of patients to receive care. Ethical decisions need to be made based on ethical principles guided by careful deliberation, reasoning, and fair procedures. Autonomy Case Study: Sandra is a 55-year old woman who was diagnosed with stage 3 cervical cancer and has been responding to chemotherapy. She is admitted to the hospital after developing pneumonia. Sandra has repeatedly expressed her wishes to her physicians and family that she did not wish to undergo resuscitation or receive artificial ventilation in the event of deterioration. However, her condition worsened and she developed severe respiratory failure leading to increasing mental incapacitation. Her physicians decided that in consideration of patient’s age and the reversibility of her acute medical condition, she had a good prognosis if she was supported by artificial ventilation. With the consent of her family, Sandra was intubated and placed on a ventilator. The above case study illustrates a situation whereby the principle of autonomy was breached. Autonomy refers to self-governance that is free from interference,

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