Law and Ethics

2275 WordsMay 12, 201110 Pages
Laws are a familiar concept, and provide a basic social framework of right and wrong to which the majority adhere. Ethical theories may also be applied to all issues of uncertainty, including those not covered by laws or professional guidelines. They create a mechanism within which issues of moral uncertainty may be questioned and resolved (Jones 1994). One such area of moral dilemma is that of informed consent. In it’s simplest terms, consent may be defined as giving permission: “… in current usage consent is defined as a voluntary compliance, or as a permission. ‘I consent’ means ‘I freely agree to your proposal’, which is an explicit statement that my consent to a certain course of action has been sought and granted without any…show more content…
The case of Gillick v. West Norfolk & Wisbech area health authority in 1987 (cited by Rogers 1989) based on the hypothetical situation of a request for contraceptive pills by a child under 16, established a legal principle whereby a health professional could administer treatment against the wishes of the child’s parent. However, the parents approval must still be gained if the child is not deemed to be mentally competent to make their own decisions. PROFESSIONAL Many professional bodies and codes exist to dictate the behaviour of the medical staff that belong to their respective professions. Although many are not able to be used in a court of law, breaking these rules can lead to being struck off a professional register or any number of other sanctions that may be enforced that may result in legal action. A registered midwife is personally and professionally accountable for their practice. This accountability extends to adhering to the Code of Professional Conduct (UKCC 1992), with clauses 5 and 7 being especially pertinent to the topic of informed consent. Clause 5 states that a midwife should : “… work in an open and co-operative manner with

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