Nurses are confronted with ethical decisions every day, ranging from decisions about routine vaccination to issues of death and dying. It is important, therefore, that nurses know how to analyze a bioethical issue based on nursing ethical values, principles, and facts in order not only to make ethical decisions about their practice, but also to help support patients and families as they struggle with ethical decisions.

Nurses are
confronted with ethical decisions every day, ranging from decisions about
routine vaccination to issues of death and dying. It is important, therefore,
that nurses know how to analyze a bioethical issue based on nursing ethical
values, principles, and facts in order not only to make ethical decisions about
their practice, but also to help support patients and families as they struggle
with ethical decisions.

You will use the
following scenario to complete this task:

Matt, a
20-year-old white male, was brought into the emergency department unconscious
with a needle protruding from a vein in his left forearm. It was determined from
his lab work that he had been taking opiates, and a heroin overdose was
suspected. After Matt was intubated and placed on mechanical ventilation, he was
stabilized and transferred to the intensive care unit. Matt’s family was
notified, and they rushed to his bedside within a half hour. After speaking with
the physician, the family told the healthcare team that they wanted to do
everything possible to save their son’s life.

An hour later,
Matt’s heart stopped, and after a full code, Matt was stabilized but was still
not breathing on his own. Matt’s heart stopped two more times over a span of
three hours. Dark blood was becoming visible in the suctioning canister, but
Matt remained in a full code status, and the family refused to assign him a “Do
Not Resuscitate” (DNR) status after five codes.

Currently, the
physician does not want the patient to have any further resuscitation. EEG shows
no brain activity. The nurse is torn between supporting the family and following
through with the physician’s desires. The nurse manager informs the nurse that
she should do as the physician says. The nurse also dislikes caring for drug
abuse patients. The patient did not have a DNR order on file. If he had a DNR,
there would have been an agency policy to follow it. The hospital also has an
ethics committee.

Task:

A. Analyze (suggested length of 1–2 pages) the
moral aspects/issues found within the scenario.

1. Provide relevant facts that relate to the
aspects/issues.

2. Discuss the ownership of the situation.

3. Discuss how the five essential nursing
values might play into the scenario.

B. Analyze (suggested length of 1–2 pages)
two bioethical issues in the given scenario in terms of a specific
ethical theory of your choice.

1. Discuss the theory.

2. Explain how the chosen theory relates to the given
scenario.

3. Discuss an applicable law or agency
policy.

C. Discuss (suggested length of 1–2 pages) how
alternative actions might affect the patient outcome.

1. Apply the ANA Nursing Code of Ethics to guide
these actions.

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