In a changing medical world that is continually advancing and demanding more from all involved, priorities can get mixed up and patients can be forgotten. Consider the following two scenarios.
Scenario 1: A 10-year-old child has suffered a motor vehicle accident. Due to multiple traumas associated with the injury, the patient is now ventilator-dependent, G-tube dependent, and shows little activity on the EEG beyond consistent seizures. (This means the patient cannot breathe on his own, cannot eat on his own, and brain testing shows little activity, but confirms frequent seizure activity). The mother of the child is ready to withdrawal care for palliation purposes. The father is committed to providing every medical intervention possible to sustain the child’s life.
Whom is the nurse responsible for in this scenario, the patient, the parents, or both? Who is “right” in this scenario, the mother or the father? You must pick a side and build an argument to support your answer; credit will not be given if you do not pick a side, and there is no middle ground. Can the nurse be truly objective in this situation? How could the emotions of the nurse affect patient care?
Scenario 2: A 17-year-old patient has Duchenne muscular dystrophy complicated with multi-organ failure. The patient is neurologically alert but again has entered multi-organ failure. From a medical perspective, there is no way to save the patient’s life. The 17-year-old patient will die soon. The parents have decided to not tell the patient about the decline in his condition. Instead, they have asked the medical staff to stay upbeat and optimistic, encouraging the patient to work toward getting better.
Is the nurse ethically obligated to tell the patient about the decline in his condition, or is the nurse ethically obligated to honor the parents’ wishes? Again, pick a side, build an argument, and articulate your perspective.
Provision 3: “The nurse promotes, advocates for, and strives to protect the health, safety, and rights of the patient.”
Being the voice of the patient is a key concept of nurse advocacy. This topic will be discussed more thoroughly later in the course. Respond to the following question.
Create a Bill of Rights for the patient. Include six “rights” that should be given to every patient and explain why you picked each one. There are many bills of rights for patients that already exist; your work will be checked for plagiarism, so just do not do it. This is easy; you pick the six most important rights and build a case as to why they are important.