The Ethical And Legal Dilemma

2044 Words9 Pages
The ability for a patient to choose or refuse their healthcare procedures is a common concept that is rarely argued against. The US Constitution protects liberty rights and they are believed to be common law rights. However, in certain circumstances, those rights can be negotiable especially when an individuals’ religious beliefs interferes with a healthcare provider’s ability to implement proper treatment and advocacy for vulnerable patients. Jehovah’s witness’ are a clear example where religious beliefs interfere with appropriate and adequate healthcare from doctors and nurses. This is because their beliefs are often in stark contrast with a doctor or nurses’ obligations as a healthcare provider (Henderson, 2005). An ethical and legal dilemma is created when a Jehovah’s witness refusal for blood transfusions puts a patient’s freedom and autonomy regarding medical intervention against a nurse or doctor’s duty to provide lifesaving treatment. This ethical dilemma affects nursing because it places the nurse in a difficult situation where they must knowingly respect all individual religious beliefs even if it means a refusal of blood that puts the patient at a higher risk for mortality. (McCormick, 2008).
The ethical dilemma of Jehovah Witness refusal of blood stems from this contradiction that is clearly against the goals of a healthcare provider, causing stress for nurses and an ethical dilemma that at times leads to legal intervention. The ethical dilemma is even
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