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Serious Ethical Issue-Human Dignity & Personal Autonomy

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Emphasis on the human right to treatment, human dignity, and patient’s autonomy.



In the profession of health, the healthcare employees are assumed to obtain information and skills related to ethics which will be totally based on their respective profession because it aims at delivering the right direction and paths to the professionals to provide a quality care to those who need it. Every profession in the healthcare situation has a serious ethical code of conduct along with the basic principles which intended them in order to complete their work of duty of care within the specific criteria (Morton, Fontaine, Hudak & Gallo, 2017). The mentioned essay will aim at analyzing the ethical issues and problems implanted in the next situation. It will emphasis on the human right to treatment, human dignity, and patient’s autonomy. Similarly, it will also create a transparent ethical view on the ethical problems including the basic principles of ethics by focusing on the burses code of conduct. Likewise, this essay will also include some recommendations required to solve the mentioned issues.

According to the given case study, Amos was a student who used to live at a residential property away from home. One day, Amos along with the other boarders’ students had serious symptoms of cholera outbreak and he was admitted in the hospital. They all were admitted in the hospital but due to shortage of nurses and doctors, the hospital decided to restrict the treatment to those students who lived in hostels. Amos argued to get the treatment but he was sent back without any treatment. Finally, Amos decided to go back to his home but till then, he was tremendously dehydrated, heavily in shock and dies within hours of his arrival to his home. So, this is case which took life of the Amos because of the lack of proper care and negligence. The ethical problems found in the case is the failure to uphold human rights, human ignominy and patient’s personal sovereignty.


Similarly, human rights is comprised of three major segments which include protecting, respecting and fulfilling. Every person has an equal right to gain respect to control and manage sickness that must be prevented in order to lead a healthy and better life. It is assumed that a patient must not be ill-treated, disrespected or misused at any worse cases. Every doctors and nurses must not deny to take care of the patients at any cases. Australian Charter of Healthcare introduced right to access high quality health care similarly with respect and dignity (Davis & Kimble, 2011). Amos had also an equal right to be treated like other students. In the given case, Amos’s right to obtain quality care was suspected making an excuse of the lack of doctors which was totally wrong. Amos was taken into care and his dignity was not sustained because of which he lost his life. The whole team of hospital could not save his life and respected Amos human right and human dignity while performing their work for other students. So, the untenable judgment was taken by the doctors and nurses in the hospital which led to death (Australian Commission on safety and quality in health care, 2016)

Additionally, it was assumed that ethical principles aims at making right decision at tough times. Likewise, conflicts can also be generated. In the healthcare settings, ethical conflicts are majorly seen because of the comparison that take place between advantages and injuries, the right of one individual compared with other, truth and honesty and hospital advantages vs. patient’s advantages. Hence, nurses are directed to attempt to be kind and respect the dignity of every individual. Initially, non- maleficence values stated that causing injuries to the patients is not a good feeling (Banks, 2009). In the given case, in order to treat Amos, the doctors and burse must admit him in the hospital for once. Restricting him lowered his self-morale and self-esteem and this led to death.


Secondly, whole talking about the benefits of patients, the doctors and nurses must authorize general wellbeing of Amos to treat him in the best possible ways (Parse, 2010). Additional supervision must be given to him because he was not even boarder students who can be taken care of the teachers. Nevertheless, the decisions made by the team of the hospital and the in charges is not totally agreeable based on the principle of beneficence because the hospital has served the other students for the same issues but Amos was sent back without any treatment. Likewise, the nurses are saving time because there was the lack of doctors and nurses which is an advantage to the hospital to focus on the cost factors (Epstein & Turner, 2015). On the contrary, Amos’s autonomy which is one of the major principles of ethics is being hindered; autonomy permits a person to make their own choices and share their views and take decisions which is positioned on their self-beliefs and values. Based on the principles of autonomy, Amos must be permitted to make his own decisions which must be not interfered and controlled by other nurses and doctors. He must be liable to get admitted in the hospital and get the proper treatment. In the given case, Amos privacy was not safeguarded. The nurses and the doctors have roles to enable Amos to have his autonomy whenever possible. Hence, in some condition when such principles are not applied, it can create conflicts and it will be an issue to introduce a specific outcome of what must be done (Rosenkoetter & Milstead, 2010). There is a conflict on whether to deliver treatment to Amos since he did not live among boarders. In addition to this, it will cost an extra amount to hire new nurses that could increase the total cost of the hospital. It is stated that the biggest balance will be ensuing right over wrong will be one of the best possible answer whenever there arises a conflict among principles. In general, instead of assisting the advantages of the hospital, saving Amos life can be the best possible way that must be carried out. Thus, an ethical dilemma is found while making an attempt to balance the basic principles.


In addition to this, the long-lasting component to manage the professional behavior of the professionals is the basic code of ethics which motivates nurses to work more truthfully in adverse situations. The code of ethics aims at providing the safeguard to patients as well as professionals. Australian Nursing and Midwifery council proposed eight code of ethics specially designed for nurses (Australian Nursing Midwifery Council. 2013). One of if says that every nurses must aim at delivering the quality nursing and health care facilities to each patients at any condition. It was said that those nurses who focuses on the quality life acts professionally and maintains the standards of profession. Nurses are sanctioned to decline the involvement of treatment if they think is morally not ethical or unacceptable. In the given case, confining of a patient may cause additional injury of the patient (Lachman, 2012). Likewise, delivering respect and kindness if next code of ethics basically for nurses. Why Amos was not given the treatment while other students were admitted and treated without any interference? Similarly, the code of ethics state that a prior informed decision must be taken before executing any activities while Amos was not aware of the decision taken by the team of the hospital. He did not know that he will not be admitted since he was not living in the hostel. Thus, every nurses must be aware about the universal human rights and the ethical responsibilities in order to safeguard every patients (Izumi, Nagae, Sakurai & Imamura, 2012).

Besides this, virtue theory is also based on the personal character instead of aiming at actions. An individual with virtue will automatically have noble ethical character. According to Barker (2010), he stated that having a virtue is doing the right thing at the right time in a right way to the right people which means if an individual has virtue, good things will happen for sure. A person with virtue becomes more confident, caring, honest and focused. It sis also said that virtue health professionals do well for the patients and they take proper care of their patients by making the right decisions (Barker, 2010).


Similarly, as a suggestion, the healthcare professionals must be more focused towards the patient’s right and dignity which can easily be done by analyzing the needs of the patients and taking the right decision by respecting their values. They should not discriminate and be unkind to the patients that may sometimes lead to death. Thus, proper health care training must be provided to assist the professional code of ethics. In the given case, due to lack of staffs in the hospital, Amos was sent back without any treatment which is totally wrong and unethical. Here, extra nurses must be hired and all the students must be treated equally (Gastmans, 2013)

Thus, it can concluded that human rights, human dignity and personal autonomy must be identified which may become a serious ethical issue. Amos was treated equally and he had to lose his life because of the injustice faced by him. Amos treatment was given second priority instead of focusing on the cost of hiring additional nurses was the major consideration. Hence, a good character is analyzed by the virtue that exists within an individual.



Australian Commission on safety and quality in health care. 2016. Australian charter of health care rights. Australian Commission on safety and quality in health care. Retrieved from:

Australian Nursing Midwifery Council. 2013. Code of ethics for nurses and midwives in Australia. Retrieved from:

Banks, S. 2009. Ethics in professional life: Virtues for health and social care. Basingstoke, Hampshire; New York: Palgrave Macmillan

Barker, P. 2010. Mental Health Ethics the Human Context. Hoboken: Taylor and Francis.

Davis, A. H., & Kimble, L. P. 2011. The essentials of baccalaureate education for professional nursing practice. Journal of Nursing Education, 50(11), 605.

Epstein, B., & Turner, M. 2015. The nursing code of ethics: Its value, its history. OJIN: The Online Journal of Issues in Nursing, 20(2).

Gastmans, C. 2013. Dignity-enhancing nursing care: a foundational ethical framework. Nursing ethics, 20(2), 142-149.

Izumi, S., Nagae, H., Sakurai, C., & Imamura, E. 2012. Defining end-of-life care from perspectives of nursing ethics. Nursing ethics, 19(5), 608-618.

Lachman, V. D. 2012. Applying the ethics of care to your nursing practice. Medsurg Nursing, 21(2), 112.

Morton, P. G., Fontaine, D., Hudak, C. M., & Gallo, B. M. 2017. Critical care nursing: a holistic approach (p. 1056). Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.

Parse, R. R. 2010. Human dignity: A human becoming ethical phenomenon. Nursing Science Quarterly, 23(3), 257-262.

Rosenkoetter, M. M., & Milstead, J. A. 2010. A code of ethics for nurse educators: revised. Nursing ethics, 17(1), 137-139.

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