Physical Therapist Ethical Dilemma Essay

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Introduction For over 75 years the profession of physical therapy has required it's members to adhere to a standard of ethical behavior.1 The first Code of Ethics adopted by the American Physiotherapy Association in 1935 focused mainly on the relationship between the physical therapist (PT), referring physician, and the disciplinary actions of violating that relationship.2(p.4) Since then the Code of Ethics has evolved into what the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) refers to as the Code of Ethics for the Physical Therapist (PT Code), and the Standards of Ethical Conduct for the Physical Therapist Assistant (PTA Standards).2(p.5),3,4 Today the Code and Standards are designed around the association's core set of values to…show more content…
The facility has an unwritten policy that all new referrals are evaluated the same day they are referred. Higher functioning patients who qualify for transfer to an inpatient rehab in three days don't receive intervention during their stay. Mary evaluates Mr. Smith, determines that he does not meet the requirements for priority treatment, and that delaying further treatment for less than three days will not have a negative impact on his well being. She documents the evaluation and recommends him for discharge without further physical therapy services. Later that day Mr. Smith confronts Mary about not receiving therapy, expresses his discontent, and questions the integrity of her and the facility.8 The ethical dilemma is uncovered when Mary realizes that her decision to follow the facility's procedure has had a negative impact on Mr. Smith's well being. The obvious "bad" here is that he won't be provided access to the physical therapy services that he believes will benefit him. The less obvious is that Mr. Smith has been denied his autonomy- the right to follow his own plan,7(p.147) and the ethical principle of beneficence- the moral requirement to do what is best for the individual patient,5(p.68) has been ignored. The "good" that
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