The Ethical Dilemma Of Caring For A Patient

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The purpose of this paper is to explore a specific patient scenario relating to the nurses’ dilemma of caring for a patient who is prescribed a placebo without having first given informed consent. The intent of placebo use in the scenario is to prevent the patient with a history of drug abuse from being given more narcotics. The dilemma will be approached systematically by first exploring potential solutions. The potential solutions will be weighed against the following three sets of data:
1) An exploration of the research supporting the solution.
2) Principles and ethics affecting the dilemma.
3) Personal values affecting the solution.
To conclude the exploration of this ethical dilemma, a decision and brief summary will be
given
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The provider states that this order will help decrease the patients abuse of narcotics and she should not be told of the placebo use. The question is, what should this nurse do?
This is an ethical dilemma as there are two competing goals present. The first is pain control and the second prevention of pain medication addiction. Healthy People 2020 has many applicable objectives relating to these two goals. Two of these goals as examples are:
“SA-19.1 Reduce the past year non-medical use of pain relievers.”
“MPS-2.1 Reduce the proportion of patients suffering from untreated pain due to a lack of access to pain treatment” (Healthy People 2020).
Potential Solutions to the Dilemma There are two general solutions to this dilemma;
1) Administer the morphine and placebo as ordered.
2) Refuse to administer a placebo to a patient who has not given informed consent.
This is an ethical dilemma because each of the solutions can be justified by a nurse who has the best of intentions.
My objective is to discuss the three principles given above (exploration of the research, principles and ethics affecting the dilemma, and personal values affecting the solution). These three principles will guide me to one of the two solutions to the dilemma.
Exploration of the Research
The Dangers of Opioid Use
“The U.S. is currently experiencing an epidemic of prescription opioid overdose. Increased prescribing and sales of opioids-a quadrupling since 1999 helped create and fuel this
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