Ethical Dilemmas In Nursing Practice

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The aim of this assignment is to describe an ethical dilemma from nursing practice and by using an ethical framework critically analyse the main issues arising from the problem. The essay will discuss the definition of ethics and it will briefly discuss the main theories of ethics. It will examine an ethical dilemma surrounding organ transplantation and it will analyse the conflicts by using the main principles of ethics. Finally, it will give recommendation in relation to ethics and its application to nursing practice.

Ethics is a branch of philosophy which is concerned with defining the concepts of right and wrong and the morality of human actions and decisions (Chaloner, 2007). The terms ethics and morals are generally undifferentiated
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Consequently, allocating organs to those whose illness was caused by their lifestyle choice is very controversial (Zalewska, 2015). Furthermore, Ubel et al. (2001) found that in a scenario when two people who both need of organ transplant, the public’s distribution preference is affected by whether or not a person’s lifestyle choices caused their illness. All the evidence suggests that those people whose lifestyle choices lead to their disease are in disadvantage when considering organ allocation. However, organ allocation policies recognise the importance of various influencing factors, including compatibility, equity, utility, benefit and fairness (Zalewska, 2015). Wilkinson & Savulescu (2012) identified seven principles that govern organ transplantation, including the principle of maximum utility, the dead donor rule, brain-dead donor rule and non-killing. These are closely linked to the four bioethical principles, but their main focus is on the person who is donating the organs. In Ireland, the Health Service Executive (2014) developed ‘A Framework for Quality and Safety of Human Organs Intended for Transplantation’ to provide guidance in human organ donation, however, currently there are no guidelines for the allocation of available…show more content…
Consequently, the principles of beneficence desire more than just adhering to the principles of nonmaleficence. Beneficence is a central piece of many moral theories. The utilitarian theory is based on the principle of utility, namely, acts are justifiable if they provide the greatest benefit for the greatest number of people (Mandal, Ponnambath & Parija, 2016). According to the principle of utility, it is more beneficial to give an organ to an individual whose illness was not caused by lifestyle choices. There are many evidence supporting this statement. Moss & Siegler (1991) argued that giving equal priority to patients whose illness is a consequence of their lifestyle, could reduce public support for transplant programs. Furthermore, Agthoven et al. (2001) found that transplantation for acute liver failure is less expensive than those for chronic liver failure (consequence of long-term alcohol abuse). However, the principle of utility is often criticized that it places the society’s interest over individual interests and rights (Beauchamp & Childress,

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