Applying Ethical Principles in the Field of Health Care Case Study

Paper Type:  Case study
Pages:  5
Wordcount:  1354 Words
Date:  2022-11-09


Majority of health care professionals are often faced with difficult ethical problems when they are practicing their professionals. These ethical dilemmas expect them to use their moral values to make sound decisions. The four essential principles of ethics come in in such a situation because they give directions and help them resolve ethical conflicts. These principles include, justice, autonomy, beneficence and non-maleficence, these principles are recognized and accepted in the field of health care to help resolve ethical dilemmas that involve both patients and health practitioners.

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Overview of the Case Study

Old School or Out of Touch?

Corey is the new director of the Emergency Department in the Crosby community hospital working under Doctor Lacey. When he was being interviewed for the job, he was expected to develop a software meant to document the reappraisal processes for the physicians applying for the reappointment to the medical staff and clinical privileges. He realizes that there is a specific reason Dr. Lacey hires him after some few months. However, there have been complaints made by the nurses to the director of nursing Margaret Truman that the doctor has been administering Lasix to patients with dyspnea and this goes against the guidelines that have been set. The doctor is not willing to listen to anyone, and the only person who can help is Corey as he is supposed to replace the doctor as he has grown old and incompetent over time. Dr. Lacey believes that Lasix is a drug of choice for anyone, however according to Margaret, Lasix can be harmful in some cases and in situations where the patients have pneumonia or dehydration, the drug shouldn't be administered at all (Howard, 2013). The doctor is not willing to listen to anyone because he thinks he got the experience. The dilemma here is whether Corey should take on the work of the doctor to avoid cases where the wrong drugs are administered on patients because he is young and competent given that the doctor has been in this field for a long time or ignore the claims made by Margaret Truman.

Analysis of Ethical Issues in the Case Study

In this case study, the main factor that resulted to moral dilemma is whether Corey should do something about Dr. Lacey given that he has become old and incompetent to the extent of administering Lasix in cases where they are not supposed to, and this could be harmful to the patients. He has to choose between the welfare of the patients who are supposed to be treated the right way or the respect he has for Dr. Lacey who is behind his employment in Crosby community hospital. After Margaret Truman explains to him about the situation with the doctor that the nurses have observed, he agrees because he knows that he is going to be responsible for taking away the doctors privileges by replacing him. He respects Dr. Lacey given that he has more experience than him, but he has to decide by doing what is right in this situation. Dr. Lacey is sure that the drugs can be used on anyone and he knows what he is doing. Corey has to intervene considering this kind of attitude could result in serious implication to the patients. Margaret is only concerned about the healthcare of the patients treated by Dr. Lacey.

Using the Ethical Decision-Making Model to Analyze the Case Study

The three components of an ethical decision-making model fit in this situation, moral awareness, moral judgment, and ethical behavior. Moral consciousness explains the ability to have the knowledge that an ethical dilemma exists, moral sense is the ability to choose what is wrong and what is right when in a similar predicament. Both moral judgment and moral awareness results in ethical behavior, ethical behavior means taking the most appropriate action in order to come up with a solution to a dilemma. In this situation, both Corey and Margaret are involved in a quandary; moral awareness has been brought out in both individuals. This is because they have been able to identify the conditions that surround the patients being treated by Dr. Lacey (Melia, 2016). Margaret moral judgment has been shown where she is trying to convince Corey to do something about the doctor to ensure patients receives the right treatment because there is need to take action before the matter gets out of hand. Her ethical behavior has also been shown where she has made the right action to solve the problem in the hospital. Her judgment also depends on the principles of ethics which are justice, autonomy, non-maleficence, and beneficence.

The Effectiveness of Communication Approaches in the Case Study

Communication skills such as listening play an essential role in bringing an understanding of individuals conversing. Corey listens to Margaret, and through that, he can know that Dr. Lacey has been administering Lasix even in situations where it should not be given to patients. He is also able to understand that the doctor believes Lasix can work on anyone with dyspnea which is not right to assume. Corey is aware that if he confronts and replaces Dr. Lacey he could be in the risk of losing his job, he will be betraying his loyalty to the doctor who helped him get the job. Margaret is also not able to approach the doctor, and therefore he talks with Corey to assist her in solving the dilemma, she informs Corey who she expects to make decisions that are informed. She ensures there is open communication so that Corey can choose at his own will and choose what he believes is right. During the discussion between Corey and Margaret, they are both emphasizing with the patients who are treated by Dr. Lacey because they might develop complications because illegal drugs are used on them.

Resolving the Ethical Dilemma by Applying Ethical Principles

The principles of ethics which are, beneficence, autonomy, justice, and non-maleficence are occasionally applied to help come up with solutions to ethical dilemmas that are in relationship to health care. Beneficence refers to taking actions that are in favor of the patients' welfare, autonomy is understanding and accepting the values of the patients'. Justice refers to the ability to treat patients fairly without biases while non-maleficence is the ability not to do any harm to a patient. Both Corey and Margaret face an ethical dilemma which involves the application of the principles of ethics. In this case study, the moral dilemma happens as a result of the conflict between autonomy, beneficence, and non-maleficence.

Autonomy is what Dr. Lacey believes is right and may respect his beliefs and the more reasons Margaret do not approach him. She even includes Corey to help with the situation by trying to explain the health implication that could result from Lasix and the importance of intervening. Corey approaching Dr. Lacey and informing him about the complaints about administering Lasix to any patient that comes to the emergency department and the implications it could cause to them could be considered a solution and beneficence before taking other steps such as asking the doctor to retire (Melia, 2016). This kind of approach could be an ethical means of providing a solution to the problem. Corey and Margaret must ensure the patients get the right medication (beneficence) by ensuring no harm gets the patients under treatment from getting the wrong medication (non-maleficence).


The four critical principles of ethics can be used by the professionals in the field of health care to carry out an analysis and come up with a solution to ethical dilemmas. In this situation, Corey has to decide between the fear of losing his job and going against what doctor Lacey believes and doing what he thinks is right as health care practitioner by ensuring the patients are administered with the right medicine. The solution that is proposed for this dilemma involves applying the principles of non-maleficence, autonomy, justice, and beneficence to solve Corey's' dilemma.


Howard, M. (2013). Ethical Principles for Everyone in Health Care. Journal of the American College of Surgeons, 192(5), 669. doi: 10.1016/s1072-7515(01)00849

Melia, K. (2016). Health care ethics (2nd ed.). London: Sage Publications

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Applying Ethical Principles in the Field of Health Care Case Study. (2022, Nov 09). Retrieved from

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