Healthcare providers play important roles inthe recovery of patients. How they behave and how they display their learnedethics in the practice of their profession has somehow influence and haseffects on their patients’ lives. We all know that nursing professionals havethe responsibility of being altruistic. This means that we have the ethicalobligation to serve others without self-interest. Makayla is not a child inneed of children Aid; she has family that cares and supports her. They are opento treatments that cause no harm to their children, which mean they are lookingat the best interest of their Makayla.
Health care providers must respect thecultural beliefs and value of their patients. Just because we think it is theright thing to do, does not necessarily make it right. We should listen andrespects our patients’ choice because it’s their life, so it’s obvious thatthey know what is best them. As a healthcare provider, we should be there forthem, support them, to improve their quality of life in whatever decision theytake. Our values and beliefs may not be the same as our patients, but we mustrespect them for what they believe, and we have the ethical principles thatguide and shape us toward becoming better nurses.
The principle of non-maleficence states thatwe should act in ways that do not inflict evil or cause harm to others.”Non-maleficence requires four things: an act is not intrinsically wrong, agood effect is intended, the good effect is not a by-product of a bad effect,and the good outweighs the bad” (Alaska L, 2008). Although the chemotherapy wasintended to treat cancer, it was doing more harm than good to Makayla.
The sideeffects of the chemotherapy were very severe that she decided to live her lifethat she had left without pain. Makayla said, “It’s not leukemia but is the chemothat is going to kill me’ (CTV News). Weeks after Makayla stop thechemotherapy, she regains her weight that was lost during the chemotherapy andfelt fresh and strong. This demonstrates that the kind of treatment that shewas receiving was doing more harm than the cancer itself. Furthermore, doing good is thought of asdoing what is best for the patient.
Nurses generally see patients and think interms of long-term outcomes for patients. Since beneficence is centered ondoing good for the patient, the difficulty with this principle often lies indefining what good means to the patient. To some patients, good would beallowing them to die, while to others it would be prompting a patient toundergo a difficult procedure to prolong and better their lives. Before actingwith beneficence in mind, nurses must consider the patients wants and needs fortheir best life. Makayla does not what to undergo the chemotherapy because itcauses her a lot of pain and reduces the quality of her life.
It had a lot ofside effects, which make her be weak and sicker. She decided to stop thechemotherapy so that she can have a quality life. According to Nahnda Garlow, aspokesperson for the Sault family said, “Makayla was suffering severe sideeffects from the chemotherapy, including mouth sores and severe nausea; and hermother and her father would have to watch her overnight to ensure that shedidn’t choke on vomit because she was so weak that she couldn’t sit up herself”(CTV News). Makayla is a minor, but she has her beliefs and she knows what isbest for her. Makayla said, “I feel awesome.
I gained some of my weight back.I’m eating and drinking, and I can hold it all down. And I am getting mystrength back” (CTV News). Nurses need to be careful that in their haste totake care of their patients, that they do not insert what they perceive to bethe best for what the patient would perceive to be the most good (Arlene G,1995).
For instance, Makayla wishes to withdraw cancer treatment because shefeels her quality of life is more important than living longer. It would be practicing beneficence for thenurse to advocate for Makayla and arrange for cancer treatment to be stoppedrather than forcing her into the treatment. Even if the healthcare providerswant the patient’s treatment to continue, they must put the patient’s idea of agood life ahead of their own.
Autonomy, the right of people to choose forthemselves what they think is best for them. It involves the concept ofself-determination or overseeing one’s self. As a patient, one can expect acertain amount of rights and responsibilities when requesting medicaltreatment. These rights include the right to make decisions, have questionsanswered accordingly prior to those decisions being made, and the right to haveyour decisions upheld and respected by the medical professionals from whichcare is obtained (Kay Wheat, 2009). Although Makayla was a minor, her parentslegally have the autonomy to make the decision for her unless they are provedthat they cannot give informed consent. Forcing Makayla to receive care thatshe and her parents are against, and threatening her parent that she would betaking away from them, was going against their autonomy. Parents know theirchildren better than anyone else, they make the decision for the best interestof their children’s. Health careproviders must always respect their patient’s wishes if it does not place harmto the client or to others.
In thiscase, Makayla and her parents’ decision do not place harm to either Makayla oranyone else. Makayla’s family thought about another way that can improve theirchild quality of life before refusing the care she was receiving. Considering that clients have the right torefuse, it is unethical and against patient the right to force Makayla toreceive chemotherapy.Makayla suffered from acute lymphoblasticleukemia and was receiving treatment at McMaster Children’s Hospital inHamilton, Ontario. During Makayla’s 11 weeks of chemotherapy, she experiencedsevere side effects that sent her to the intensive care unit (ICU). Makayla andher parents decided to stop the chemo treatment due to its harmful side effectand decided to use traditional medicine, which her parents believe that theywill not cause any harm to Makayla.
When Makayla decided against continuingchemotherapy, the hospital referred her case to Brant Family and Children’sServices. After a brief investigation, it decided Makayla was not a child inneed of protection and that it would not apprehend her to return her totreatment (CTV News). I think respecting the wishes of Makayla refusal to takechemotherapy for her acute lymphoblastic leukemia is ethically justified and Iagree with Children’s Aid’s Society’s decision not to intervene in thiscase. The reasons I agree withChildren’s Aid’s Society is because they are an organization that protectschildren from harm. They protect children who they believe their parents areviolent to each other, parents who do things that could harm their children orparents who do not stop their husband, wife, or other people, including otherfamily members, from doing things that could harm their children. In Makayla’scase, she is not a child who is in danger, abuse or harm by her parents orrelatives.Ethical problems are problems that are mostdifficult to handle appropriately because of their naturally sensitive nature(Alan, R., & Sheila, P,2009).
Ethics require sound judgment and adherenceto rules that are not always as clear-cut as laws(Potter&Poetry,2013).Ethical issues often arise in the healthcare practice due to the delicacy ofpatient-caregiver interactions (CTV News). It is the health care team members’ duty to assist the patient to thebest of their abilities and to ensure that their workplace is beneficial forall patients (Potter& Pottery,2013).
Ethics can come into question in an individual’s own practice as well asobserved issues in the practices of fellow nurses and doctors. It is vital thatthese issues be considered from an objective standpoint, and reported insituations where ethical codes are clearly broken (Alan, R., & Sheila, P.2009). This ethical paper will analyze the ethical issues in the story of MakaylaSault, a 10-year-old Ojibwa girl who had cancer, and chose to quit herchemotherapy to pursue traditional Aboriginal treatments.