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Ethical Issue In The Health Sector In Australia

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Identify and Described all the Relevant Ethical Principal and Statements from the Codes relating to the Scenario.



Ethical issue in the health sector in Australia is very important. Ethics refers to moral principles that govern the conduct and behavior of individuals in the society. This ethics result from practices that have existed in the society for a period of time or laws that are made to govern behavior of individuals (Koutoukidis, StaintonHughson, & Tabbner, 2013). On a professional point of view, ethics are the rules and regulations that govern the conduct, behavior and activities carried out by individuals when undertaking their professional duties. In the health sector, ethics are particularly important given the sensitive nature of the profession and the need to sanitize and achieve uniformity in health service provision. Due to this reason, the government and regulatory bodies have come up with laws and by laws which guides and governs professional in the health professional on how to act and the procedures to follow when making decisions related to the profession (Kerridge,Lowe& Stewart, 2013). This report analyzes the case study of Hai`s medical situation and the way in which the existing legislation will affect the steps and decision that Mark is going to take in trying to help his patient.

Identifying relevant issues

The problem that Dr. Mark is faced with in this particular case study is the need to identify the real and exact cause of the patients’ injury. This will help Mark to identify the root cause of the problem and treat it rather than the symptoms. Since there are conflicting episodes on what caused Hai to jump from the roof of his house, it is important for Mark to gather all the necessary and sufficient information concerning the patient. Mark needs to make sure that he adheres to all the laws and regulations governing provision of medical care to patient with psychological problems. Mark is also expected to act ethically when making decisions on the best way to help Hai recover from his situation.


Who is involved in the problem?

Hai is the patient who needs medical help. He is received by Mark who evaluates hi condition and determines that the patient has some mental problem. Dr Chin and Hai`s brother are involved in this case.

Ethical principles

The ethical principles that will be considered by Mark and his team when helping Hai include:

Autonomy-Under the 2016 act, health professionals are required to respect a patient right to make choices about what he/she believes to be in his best interest. In this instances that require the consent of the patient include; informed consent, communication, confidentiality, truthfulness and keeping of promises made to the patient (Mark & Taylor, 2010). Mark shared information of the patient with a fellow doctor but that does not amount to violation of the autonomous principle because, he was doing so with the patient’s best interests at heart. Mark also acted ethically according to this principle by ensuring proper and effective communication between him and the patient. Mark informed Hai of his mental health situation even though the patient did not want to hear that. Mark was also truthful to the patient as required under this principle. Therefore, Mark acted ethically according to the principle of autonomy.

Another ethical principle which is relevant in this case study is that of no-maleficence- this principle highlights the duty of the health officer to do no harm and to protect the patients from harm (Benjamin &Curtis, 2010). Mark is obliged to provide care of the highest level quality, to act ethically. Not to exploit the patient. The doctor is also required to notify the patient, colleagues and authorities in case he/she feels that serious harm might occur. Mark fulfilled the obligation of protecting the patient from harm by insisting that the patient should be subjected to mental check up in order to establish the state of his mental health. The decision of Dr Choi that patient should be treated for his mental problem before being treated for the physical injuries suffered means that the patient will be experiencing pain for a long period of time. This will be in violation of the principle of non-maleficence since the doctor has failed at protecting the patient from harm.


The principle of Beneficence Is also vital in the evaluation of the case study involving Mark and Hai. This principle states that the health official has the duty and obligation to benefit others. This means that the medical officer must act in the best interests of his/her patients (Kerridge, Lowe& Stewart, 2013). They should also undertake professional training and development. Mark acted in the best interest of the patient because he decided to seek help to solve the mental health issues being experienced by the patient rather than treat him for physical injuries and leave the rest.

The forth principle according to the 2016 Act and which will be relevant to this case study analysis is the principle of Justice. This principle states that the medical officers should; ensure fair distribution of resources(distributive justice), respect the right of the patients as well as respect the morally accepted laws and being accountable for their actions and inaction(legal justice) (Staunton & Chiarella, 2016).

Mark should bear in mind and follow all this principle as he tries to help Hai in his situation. He will be responsible for all the decisions makes on behalf of the patient. Mark will also be responsible if he fails to take actions that would salvage the life of his patient or if he fails to take action and the condition of the patient worsens due to his ignorance.


Code of ethics

There are several provisions in the code of ethics of nurses that apply perfectly to the situation that Mark is facing. These codes of ethics provisions are discussed as follows:

Value statement(1)

Respect for people- this code require nurses and medical professionals to respect the capacity of people to make decisions concerning their health but after adequate and all the necessary information has been provided to them. The nurses are also required to show kindness and care towards to the patients (Staunton & Chiarella, 2016).

Mark violated this code since he did not allow Hai to make a decision regarding his health. This is despite the fact that the patient insisted that he had no problem and did not want to be subjected to any kind of anti-psychotic medication. The nurse did not allow the patient to make a decision by him despite the fact that he had provide the patient with all the information that was required for decision making.

Value statement(2)

This code states that nurses value the moral and legal authority of patients to participate whenever possible in decision making concerning their nursing and treatment. The nurse should help the patient to make informed decisions and at the same time should recognize the role of family members in decision making in case the patient is incapacitated, because of disability or other factors that may affect their decision making (Pozgar, 2012).

Mark followed this code strictly since he allowed Tim to make a decision on behalf of his brother who was not mentally fit to make such crucial decisions for himself.

Value statement(3)

This code requires nurses to develop a culture and knowledge to help them communicate with members of a community with different cultures and traditions (Then & McDonald, 2014).

Mark acted in accordance to this code because he was able to convince Hai to reveal to him some information which was crucial in diagnosing his problem. Mark was able to make his character fit with that of Hai and they develop warm relations.


Legal issues

In the case of Mark and Hai, the legal question in this case will be that of consent. Consent refers to the capacity of a person to decide. This decision should be made freely and voluntarily. The consent of an individual should also relate to the intervention or treatment in question (Aitken, 2015). The law on consent of patients requires that;

“The right to decide on one`s own fete presupposes the capacity to act. Every person who is an adult is presumed to have the capacity to make decisions involving themselves. This is irrespective of the level of knowledge or education of the patient.”This right can be rebutted according to the Mental Health Act of 2016 9(Qld) s4). A person who is established not to be in good mental health cannot be allowed to make decisions concerning his/her health by themselves. Decisions can be made by close family members and relatives who understand the patient well (Townsend & Luck, 2013).

In the case of Mark and Hai, he was mentally ill. This means that legally speaking, he could not be able to make informed decisions concerning his health. Therefore, Mark was right to allow Tim to make discussions on behalf of his brother. Mark therefore cannot be held liable for violating the law on consent of a patient.


Mark acted ethically and legally in the way he handled Hai from the beginning to the very end. He did not violate any legal or ethical requirement for nurses. Therefore, Mark cannot be prosecuted by Hai for violating the law of consent for a patient.


Mark acted ethically and legally throughout and he acted in the best interests of the patient and therefore cannot be held liable for any wrongdoing in a court of law.


Ethical and legal principles are very vital in the medical profession as well as other professions. In the case of Mark and his patient Hai, Mark acted ethically and in the best interest of the patient. Mark also protected the patient from harm when he wanted to be allowed to leave the hospital something which could have caused him further injuries and harm. Therefore, denying Hai the right to make a decision regarding his health by himself was the legal and ethical thing to do.



Benjamin, M., & Curtis, J. (2010). Ethics in nursing: Cases, principles, and reasoning. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Hamlin, L., Richardson-Tench, M., & Davies, M. (2011). Perioperative nursing: An introductory text. Chatswood, N.S.W: Mosby Australia.

Fry, S. T., Veatch, R. M., & Taylor, C. (2011). Case studies in nursing ethics. Sudbury, MA: Jones & Bartlett Learning.

Daly, J., Speedy, S., & Jackson, D. (2010). Contexts of nursing: An introduction. Sydney: Churchill Livingstone/Elsevier Australia.

Elder, R., Evans, K., & Nizette, D. (2009). Psychiatric and mental health nursing. Sydney: Mosby Elsevier.

Koutoukidis, G., Stainton, K., Hughson, J., & Tabbner, A. R. (2013). Tabbner's nursing care: Theory and practice. Chatswood, N.S.W: Churchill Livingstone.

Kerridge, I., Lowe, M., & Stewart, C. (2013). Ethics and law for the health professions.

Staunton, P. J., & Chiarella, M. (2016). Law for nurses and midwives.

Pozgar, G. D. (2012). Legal and ethical issues for health professionals. Sudbury: Jones & Bartlett Learning.

In Aitken, L. M., In Marshall, A., In Chaboyer, W., & Australian College of Critical Care Nurses,. (2015). ACCCN's critical care nursing.

Townsend, R., & Luck, M. (2013). Applied paramedic law and ethics Australia and New Zealand. Chatswood, N.S.W: Elsevier Australia.

Then, S.-N., & McDonald, F. J. (2014). Ethics, law, and health care: A guide for nurses and midwives.


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