The Ethical Principles Of Respect For Autonomy

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The case scenario presents Mark who has been involved in a car accident. Mark has suffered significant internal bleeding and needs a blood transfusion immediately for his survival. This has been clearly stated by his attending doctor. Mark is still conscious and oriented. Mark is a Jehovah’s Witness and receiving blood is against his religion. Mark signs a Refusal of Treatment document stating his wish not to receive a blood transfusion under any circumstances. His girlfriend, Pam, wants him to receive blood and is asking the nurse to administer blood despite Mark’s refusal. This situation presents an ethical dilemma to the health professionals involved in Mark’s care. The ethical dilemma is whether to uphold his decision not to receive the blood and therefore risk his life or give him the blood to save his life despite knowing his religious status and beliefs. There are several ethical principles involved in this scenario. The ethical principles of respect for Autonomy, Beneficence, Non-maleficence, Veracity and Fidelity will be discussed in the latter part of this essay. There are also legal concepts to be considered in this scenario which are legal principles of ‘Consent’ and ‘Right to refuse treatment’ which can also be addressed as the contemporary issues that is being faced by the health practitioners these days.

Ethics is concerned about what is right, fair, just or good; about what we ought to do, not just about what is the case or what is most acceptable or
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