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Laws and Ethics in Australia

Discuss the relevance and application of Australian laws and ethical values in Tim's case study.

Ethics is also called philosophical morality. It is an embodiment of philosophy dictating the actions of human beings (Miraghaei, Shabani, & Shabani, 2014). Ethics quest to judge what is wrong and right about an action. Furthermore, the moral values are systematic in its defense and recommendation on an individual's conduct. Ethics offer solutions to the ethical questions that a society might have concerning critical issues. The philosophical branch explains the meaning of evil and ethical behavior.

Laws refer to the regulations and principles that govern a given community, country, or region (Lim et al., 2015). The Australian authorities formulate the rules, and the citizens must follow the doctrines. Laws and ethics differ slightly but share a majority of principles. Laws are permanent regardless of the situation at hand. However, ethical concepts are flexible and can transform to match with the current scenario.

This essay will discuss the relevance and application of Australian laws and ethical values in Tim's case study. The paper will discuss the moral principles and theories, explaining their use to the case study. Moreover, the essay will focus on Australian legal issues in healthcare.

The two commands are essential for health practitioners, whenever they are in their line of duty. The therapeutic interdependency between clinicians and the patients is a critical part of healthcare delivery in health facilities. An Australian practitioner who adheres to the laws and ethical issues about medical attention builds a healthy relationship with the client (Johnstone, 2015). At the long run, efficient use of the two pillars improves the quality of healthcare. Therefore, nurses must observe ethical reasoning and the laws of the Australia in the treatment procedures (Strang, & Braithwaite, 2017). The case study will look at the legal and ethical issues and how the two relate to the case study of Tim.

Tim is 32 years of age; he has a dislocated shoulder. Additionally, Tim has bruises on the upper part of his body and all over his face. He has also suffered from lacerations of the scalp which has opened deep wounds. Tim got injured when he got into a fight at a football game played over the weekend. The emergency department of the hospital performed surgery on him since his condition was worsening by the day. After the surgical procedures, Tim began to indicate irrelevant symptoms such as violence, rudeness towards the nurses, and aggressive behaviors.

Medical Issues in Tim's Case Study

The medical practitioners related the change in behavior to the pain that Tim was feeling at the moment. The physician ordered the nurses to inject Tim with morphine forcefully. Nurses collaborated in forcing the injection on Tim. The struggle to insert Tim resulted in breakage of the needle inside Tim's body. Consequently, another operation proceeded to remove the stuck needle. The condition led Tim to spend an additional month at the health facility.

Laws and ethics have a close relationship. The Australian Law provides principles that act as bare minimums for the society. On the other hands, ethics provides an ideal platform for adequate care. However, legal doctrines are essential for the application of ethical methods to be a reality (Lydon, & Rizvi, 2016). In a few instances, ethical and legal principles disagree with one another. A good example is when Australia legalizes assisted death, whereas ethically, the action is wrong.

In the case study, Tim was rude and desired to return to the football pitch before the completion of treatment. His actions prompted the practitioners at the health facility to ignore his wish and inject him with morphine. The nurses administered the injection without considering the requests of Tim. The action of the nurses is ethically wrong due to disobedience of autonomy. However, injecting Tim to pave the way for further treatment is legally right since every citizen should receive quality care. However, ethics provide the platform for arguments and changes to suit a particular scenario.

Tim's scenario provides a specific ethical and legal dilemma. Forcing Tim with treatment is contrary to the principle of Autonomy. However, when the nurses prematurely leave him to resume his football career, he can acquire other complications due to unfinished attention. On the other hand, the law requires that every citizen receives quality healthcare (Bennett, 2017).

The two are major ethical theories that are relevant to the provision of care to patients in Australia. The method of utilitarianism states that a moral action is one that brings the greatest happiness to a large number of individuals (Barrow, 2015). Furthermore, the theory asserts that the best effort should improve the health status of an individual. At the same time, individuals should prevent the occurrence of illegal activities. Utilitarianism emanates from consequentialism. Therefore, judgment of action should depend on its overall consequences. An act which breeds desirable outcomes is preferable to one that yields an unwanted result. Thus, individuals should carry out activities that generate total positivity to a large group of individuals. People should ensure that their deeds maximize utility in an overall view. The outcome of action matters more than the act itself according to utilitarian.

Ethical Principles and Theories in Medical Care

Deontology insists that the provision of care by nurses is the essential activity on the hospital. The theory does not consider the consequences of an action. However, deontology judges a move at the onset of implementation process (Charura, McFarlane, Walker, & Williams, 2017). An effort is either wrong or right regardless of the consequences. Therefore, medical practitioners should do anything within their powers to offer treatment to the clients. No circumstance, whether good or bad should prevent caregivers from administering care.             Deontologists claim that an action is wrong when the thinking of the doer, the implementation, and the aftermath are all wrong. The vice versa is also true for the right move. On the contrary, utilitarians bank on the consequences to judge whether a work is morally right or wrong. The two theories have their flaws and strengths. However, there is need to consider the strong points of the methods to enhance the quality of healthcare. Medical practitioners should follow their conscience and at the same time adhere to professional codes of conduct in the provision of care (Charura et al., 2017). Additionally, caregivers should consider socially, cultural, and ethical values when offering care to the patients.

The two theories are relevant in the case study involving Tim. For utilitarians, the consequences of an action are more important than the work itself. Therefore, utilitarians support the nurses for injecting Tim with morphine since the result is to relieve him of pain. Moreover, utilitarians focus on the aftermath of an action. Injection using morphine results into a good ending as Tim receives all the necessary treatment. The theory does not emphasize how the nurses conducted the therapy (Charura et al., 2017). In many occasions, it is essential to persuade a patient in a friendly way before administering medication. Nurses require a legal permit from the Australian government to offer injection forcefully. Caregivers have to provide quality care in a manner that is peaceful. Australian Clinicians should also follow Deontological principles in the issuance of medical treatment.


The principle insists on the need always to do good and at the same time prevent the occurrence of harm (Beauchamp, 2016). Tim's situation issues a dilemma as far as beneficence is concerned. The nurses achieve the desired outcome which is treatment. The excellent result resonates with beneficence. However, the achievement of the conclusion follows a forceful route, thus contradicting the principles. The dynamic injection makes Tim increase his stay at the hospital for yet another surgical procedure. Therefore, the nurses achieve a desirable outcome through the wrong means in the case study. Beneficence and utilitarianisms go hand in hand as they both gun for beneficial results.

Beneficence and Non-maleficence


The principle obligates individuals to refrain from harming others (Greenfield, & Jensen, 2016). The laws of beneficence and nonmaleficence are almost similar. Therefore, individuals find a hard time to categorize them concerning their importance. In the case study, the rule of nonmaleficence is less critical as compared to beneficence which assumes center stage. Tim has no option but to undergo forceful injection since it is good for his recovery. The physician intended to lower Tim's tension through morphine injection. The doctor had good motives although the needle broke inside Tim's body. The needle incident handed Tim an additional one month stay at the health facility. Therefore, the case study achieves beneficence while overriding nonmaleficence.


The ethical principle of Autonomy demands respect for the opinion of an individual (Meehan, & Landry, 2016). A patient should contribute to decision making, and the physicians should respect their opinions. The physician should not whatsoever threaten, manipulate or force the patient into making a wrong decision. Caregivers have the responsibility of acknowledging and respecting the autonomy of the client. Additionally, the client should be of sound mind and have the capability to make medical decisions. The physician should provide the client with adequate and relevant information to enable them to conclude. Tim is not in a position to make a decisive contribution to his treatment due to the aggression, violence, and the lack of cooperation that he shows towards the caregivers. The physicians should make decisions for patients in the conditions of Tim. Moreover, the government should allow caregivers to make the decisions without legal restrictions.


Capacity refers to the capability of a patient to make independent decisions without undue pressure (Hein et al., 2015). Situations that can make individuals lose their capacity include alcoholism, severe injury, and mental sickness.  Additional causes of incapacity include young age, abuse, the influence of drugs, and depression. The continuous state of vegetativeness and the inability to learn also leads to disability (Katz, Webb, & C. O.B, 2016). The caregivers should explain the consequences of methods of treatment to the clients. The methods include the plan of treatment, options, merits and merits of the chosen strategy (Mancini et al., 2015). After the explanation, the clinicians should allow the patients to make independent and informed decisions (Bossaert et al., 2015). Tim is unable to make a critical decision on his treatment. Therefore, the physicians are right to inject him with morphine.



The principle urges healthcare providers to offer equal medical attention to all patients regardless of their ethnicity (Nukaga, 2016). The physicians obey the law of justice as they attend to every client at the emergency department. Moreover, they offer quality treatment to the patients in an equal measure. The physicians pay close attention to the nature of the complications before providing exemplary care to the clients. Following the principle, the physicians make Tim patient as he awaits admission into the operating segment.


The principle requires physicians to practice loyalty in the provision of health care (Senter et al., 2018). Loyalty in treatment creates a therapeutic partnership between the caregivers and the clients. Fidelity requires the physicians to exercise total concentration to their duties. The principle is irrelevant in the case study that involves Tim. However, the doctor and the nurses fulfill their obligation of ensuring that Tim gets well.


The concept requires caregivers to make treatment decisions that match the beliefs of the clients (Schiavone, De Anna, Mameli, Rebba, & Boniolo, 2014). The Australian physicians should ensure that the clients concur with their treatment suggestions. The concept of paternalism is illegal and unethical in the modern world of healthcare. The illegality is because; the idea denies the patient the free will of making decisions. The patients should stand their grounds and use nonmaleficence and beneficence to combat paternalism. The autonomy and the dignity of the client have slowly but surely taken the place of paternity (Schiavone et al., 2014).  The nurses must ensure that patients have informed consent before arriving at a decision. The patients have the right to make their independent decisions after receiving relevant medical information from the doctor. The ethical world puts a lot of emphasis on the respect towards the client’s dignity and autonomy.

The ethical committees and the Australian legal courts have a role to play in dealing with incapacitated clients. The two bodies should make viable decisions which would resonate with the views of the patients in their standard states. Tim’s case disagrees with paternalism. Therefore, the concept is irrelevant to the case study. Tim is incapacitated, and therefore Autonomy is also irrelevant. Additionally, the nurses cannot listen to Tim's contributions as they contradict the provision of quality care. However, the caregivers should not override the decisions of the patients to favor their arguments (Schiavone et al., 2014). The Australian court is an essential arbitrator in the case of Tim due to the ethical dilemma that exists. Tim's situation requires urgent attention and the nurses would be ethically unwise to wait for the arbitrator before making a decision. The clinicians must make right choices on behalf of the incapacitated patient.

Utilitarianism and Deontology

Tim was unruly to the care providers. Additionally, he was aggressive and violent towards the nurses. The nurses had an obligation to manage the condition of Tim before providing him with quality medical treatment. Tim's behavior was creating a difficult situation for the caregivers to conduct medical treatment to Tim and the other clients. The nurses used chemical means involuntarily to manage Tim. The intervention by the nurses is legally accepted in the Australian constitution. However, chemical injection results into undesirable seductive effects. The impacts include drowsiness and loss of appetite. Additionally, morphine injection can cause mental sickness and dizziness (Schiavone et al., 2014). However, the nurses injected Tim for his good.  The Australian government has legalized the detention of an individual if the action leads to the peace of others. The clinicians were right to inject Tim with the morphine drug as the injection barred Tim from preventing medical treatment.


The principle is a fundamental part of ethical logic. Consenting is only applicable when the parties involved are capable and possess the necessary know-how to consent (Richter et al., 2018). Appropriate consent enables clinicians to discharge their duties without legal impairments. Battery refers to illegal touching of other individuals without their prior consent.  The condition is not permanent as it follows the surgical procedures.  The patient show symptoms that disappear after the effects of the anesthetics come to an end.

Double effect

The doctrine of the law allows the Australian caregivers to harm if their action delivers desirable results (Runciman, Merry, & Walton, 2017). In other cases, ethical principles permit the doctor to allow the patients to die, if the sedative drugs administered were to relieve pain. In the case study, the nurses in conjunction with the nurses inject Tim with morphine contrary to his wishes. The actions of the caregivers are justified as the injection is to the own good of Tim. The morphine that the nurses used in the treatment process has seductive effects besides being an active anesthetic drug. Moreover, it is clear that the performance of undesirable procedures to incapacitated patients can cause an eventuality (Kasper et al., 2015). The situation is evident as the needle breaks in the case study of Tim during the injection with morphine. The doctrine of double effects applies to the case study as the infusion enhances the treatment of Tim. However, the injection causes the breakage of the needle which is harmful to the patient.


The necessity doctrine

The doctrine gives caregivers the go-ahead to administer treatment to incapacitated patients (Gooding, & Flynn, 2015). The nurses have the right to make treatment decisions on behalf of such patients. The caregivers must administer treatment to incapacitated patients with or without their consent. The doctrine is highly applicable in the case study of Tim. Surgery is a must though the patient is unable to make informed decisions about the treatment options.


Tort is another Australian law that applies to the case study involving Tim. The action is wrong in right corners as it consists in injuring another individual (Gostin, & Wiley, 2016). The injured individual has the legal right to report the offender to the authorities. In some cases, Tort occurs as a result of negligence. The term negligence refers to the omission of essential responsibility of an individual by themselves. On the other hand, battery refers to the act of physically injuring another party (Hall, Orentlicher, Bobinski, Bagley, & Cohen, 2018). The person perpetrates the action without the prior consent of the recipient. An individual who commits the two offenses should answer to court charges.

The care providers have the sole responsibility to provide quality medical treatment to Tim. If the clinicians fail to offer the best medical attention to Tim, then the patient should sue them for negligence. The battery is also irrelevant in the case study. The clinicians expose Tim to the effects of battery, but their actions are to help him. Ethical and legal principles allow the clinicians to tort the patient if it is for the good of the client.


Ethical and legal principles are essential for any practice in any fields in Australia. The adherence to the two pillars ensures the provision of quality care to the patients. Caregivers should follow their own beliefs and those of patient before offering medical treatment.  In the case of the Tim, there are applicable and irrelevant legal and ethical principles. The theories of utilitarianism and deontology have to take precedence in treatment. Adherence to the ethical theories ensures quality issuance of medical treatment. The care providers must also follow the doctrines of autonomy, beneficence, and justice. Nonmaleficence and fidelity are also assuring quality treatment to the patients.

Caregivers need to observe legal issues in their line of duty. The doctrines of tort and battery undermine the rights of Tim. However, the situation of Tim necessitates the clinicians to reject both tort and battery doctrines.  Therefore, the clinicians should observe all the ethical and legal issues in treatment. The essential principles are those of beneficence, autonomy, nonmaleficence, and justice. The other laws such as those of fidelity are also critical in medical treatment.


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