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Case Study: Professional Ethical Issue - With A Free Essay Review



Introduction

Informed consents are a really important part of post-operative preparations and are extremely mandatory before any medical treatments occur. Informed consents should be provided by doctors or nurses that will be present during the operations. They must include information of “the nature of the treatment, the expected benefits of the treatment, the material risks and side effects of the treatment, the alternative courses of actions, and the likely consequences of not having the treatment” (CNO, 2008). As stated in the Athabasca University professional ethics study guide online, Case 2.2 is about a veterinarian who has found out that Ms. Kay’s dog, Sandy, has a “rare blood disease”. He realizes that the disease’s treatment is currently being experimented and they have resulted unsuccessfully ninety-five percent of the time. The procedure’s cost if very high as well. Ms. Kay chose to euthanize Sandy and decided not to have the treatment for her dog either. Dr.Cee went on with the treatment of Sandy anyways, without informing Ms. Kay. Dr. Cee states that he did not inform Ms. Kay about conducting her dog’s operation because “he did not want to get her hopes up.” Since the operation was a success, he informed Ms. Kay about the good news. However, if the result of Sandy’s operation came out to be unsuccessful, would Dr. Cee still have told Ms. Kay that her dog did not survive? This is the main ethical issue to be discussed. As mentioned above, an informed consent is mandatory at all times even if the patient is not human and is not competent enough to make decisions for themselves. If that is the case, then the legal guardians, or in this case, the owner of the dog, should be informed and should be the one to make the medical decisions the dog’s health and wellbeing.

Relevant of External Factors

Dr. Cee did not act in a morally appropriate manner. Before initiating the treatment, Dr. Cee should have consulted the owner of Sandy first. Even though the treatment was a success, the operation could have failed because of the ninety-five percent failure rate of the previous experiments conducted. The result could have ended in the death of Sandy and the owner, Ms. Kay would have been devastated if she was informed about it later. The legal procedures were not implicated. Dr. Cee was behaving completely immoral because he basically treated Ms. Kay’s dog as an experimental trial. The evidence of considering the operation as an experimental trial is present as well since he did not even charge Ms. Kay the expensive cost of the treatment either.

It is relevant to know that the previous experiments were ninety-five percent unsuccessful. The success and failure of an experiment or trial is like a platform to decide whether or not the treatment is worth going through. People usually use success stories and facts of past treatments to decide whether or not the treatment should take place. The accuracy and possible expectations of the operation is normally based on real life evidence that has performed in the past, therefore, they are trustable sources one can rely on. Successful and unsuccessful factors are a part of informed consents as they fall under the “material risks and side effects of the treatment” (CNO, 2008) and the “expected benefits of the treatment” (CNO, 2008) category.

Consequentialism Theory Vs. Deontological Theory

I believe the consequentialism theory weights more than the deontological reasons when related to this case. The consequentialist reasons should be weighted more because the actions of Dr. Cee seem to be under the theory of “maximizing the most amount of happiness” for Ms. Kay and his own research in the hope of having successful results after the treatment. The actions Dr. Cee could have chose are available and the action of conducting the experiment might have been the right one since Dr. Cee is not even sure if the result will be desirable or not. Dr. Cee has in fact tried to increase the amount of happiness to the max by not informing Ms. Kay. However, this particular issue about not informing is believed to be morally wrong. Dr. Cee stated that he thought Ms. Kay’s hopes would have got up if the experiment was conducted by her will. This allows Ms. Kay to experience less sadness if the experiment was undesirable since she would have probably never been informed by Dr. Cee about these happenings. On the other hand, the deontological theory should be weighted less since the consequences are known, considered and somewhat relevant. The consequences of Sandy’s death would be irrelevant to Ms. Kay since she will probably still be unaware of the situation. Yet it would relevant to Dr. Cee either way since operation’s results and findings, either successful or unsuccessful would still be recorded in Dr. Cee’s research findings.

Contractarian Theory

The contractarian theory revolves around a set of rules and regulations that a part of agreement that certain groups of people abide by (Rowan & Zinaich, 2003). There was no particular contract of agreement that Dr. Cee abided by. It was his duty to follow a set of rules that implied an informed consent. This theory should have been considered if Dr. Cee had developed an informed consent and implemented it towards Ms. Kay.

Feminist Ethics

Feminist reasons would argue that “in moral analyses, abstract human ideals, such as rationality, should not be emphasized at the expense of taking proper account of the particular features of persons and their situations” (Rowan & Zinaich, 2003). When related to this, Dr. Cee had made a rationality as to why he was going to perform the treatment on Sandy without informing Ms. Kay. That rationality consisted of Ms. Kay’s hopes, worries and concerns of Sandy and her undesirable comfort level. As per feminist theories, this should not have occurred at all and Ms. Kay either should have been informed or Dr. Cee should have respected and gone with her decision of euthanizing Sandy.

Virtue Ethics Reasoning

Virtue ethics help the individual make decisions based on what personality and character traits they possess. In this particular case, I suppose Dr. Cee has a very concerned and caring nature as he does take account of Ms. Kay’s feelings regarding her dog, Sandy. Although, Dr. Cee might have performed the treatment of Sandy as another trial and error experiment, he may not express many virtuous characteristics. In spite of this, Dr. Cee is still a medical professional, a veterinarian, and it is in his professional standards to have the quality of feeling empathy and respect for his or her clients. The character trait, honesty and trust, should be followed by Dr.Cee and should be considered professional standards for him but since Ms. Kay is unaware of the experiment, honesty and trust is not even touched on. The ethical traits that led Dr. Cee to start the treatment would be considered as a caring, respecting, and empathetic nature.

Professional Ethics Issue & Possible Course of Actions

The professional ethics issue is much rather explained through this analysis very thoroughly. The ethical issue is of informed consent and is considered a very vital part of medical procedures. There are quiet a few possible options or answers that should have been analyzed when pertaining to this particular case. The first option would have been to explain Dr. Cee`s concern and decision of treating Sandy to Ms. Kay in person. Then if Ms. Kay had somewhat agreed, Dr. Cee could have proceeded with the informed consent. Once that was completed, the treatment could have been started. Another option would have been to call Ms. Kay over the phone, explain to her what Dr. Cee suggested, and then follow up with a verbally informed consent. The last option I would possibly analyze would be to respect Ms. Kay`s decision and euthanize Sandy as she initially decided. The decision Dr. Cee decided to take would not be considered at all by my beliefs because I am currently pursuing a degree in the medical field and I currently practicing the professional standards of obtaining an informed consent. Therefore, I will absolutely disregard Dr. Cee`s decision as it go against my study and current practice.

Morally Best Course of Action

I think the morally best answer would be my first option. That option was to explain Dr. Cee`s suggestion of the treatment in person, obtain an informed consent from Ms. Kay, and start the treatment on whatever date Ms. Kay preferred. This course action would be best because the treatment will be performed with the permission of Ms. Kay and the legal implications will be applied. Ms. Kay`s feelings will be taken into consideration and everything will happen under her will. If the result is unsuccessful, it will be taken into account and no one will be held responsible because the legal agreements will be created.

Conclusion

It is the duty of a medical professional to ensure that the client has received all the necessary information about their health and wellbeing therefore an informed consent is a must. My reasoning emphasizes the fact that Dr. Cee should have obtained an informed consent from Ms. Kay before starting any treatment at all. Perhaps, Dr. Cee`s reasoning behind that was to make Ms. Kay feel comfortable and feel the most amount of happiness, so the consent was disregarded. This logic is under the influence of the consequentialism and is weighted more than the deontological theory. The contractarian and feminist reasons are not supported by this ethical situation. Empathy, respect, and the caring nature are the few virtue ethics Dr.Cee inherits, although, honesty and trust should be a part of his practice as well.

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Essay Review

You say in your introduction that the question of whether the vet would "still have told Ms. Kay that her dog did not survive" in the event of the treatment failing "is the main ethical issue to be discussed.” You do not clarify why you say that, and your essay does not deal primarily with that question, which in any case has nothing to do with "informed consent" (insofar as it is impossible to consent to a procedure after the procedure has taken place). The real issue, of course, appears to be whether the vet ought to have undertaken such a procedure without the consent of the pet's owner in the first place, and that is of course the issue that you discuss.

You also note in your introduction that informed consent is mandatory and for that reason the vet ought to have followed the owner's wishes. Presumably the reason you are being asked to discuss this particular case is that things seem to be complicated a little by the fact that the owner chose to have the pet put down, and did so perhaps because of the cost of the experimental and usually unsuccessful procedure. If a course of action is mandatory, of course, then there is, in a sense, no room for discussion, unless the point of the discussion is to demonstrate why the policy (in this case, the policy of getting informed consent before undertaking any procedure) is mandatory; but you don't advance any argument of that kind. So if the point of your study instead is to judge the ethical character of the vet's action, then the question of whether the action violates a mandatory rule is a relatively trite one, and I don't really see the value in emphasizing that violation. (You could of course include the fact that the action under discussion is a violation of a professional code among the facts and reasons offered in support of the claim that the action is unethical.)

The first argument about the ethical character of the vet's action is that it was wrong because "the result could have ended in the death of Sandy." I think you need to explain here why you think that is a compelling reason for judging the action unethical, especially given the fact that Sandy was destined to die in the absence of the vet's action (by being "euthanized"). You also argue that the the vet treated the pet "as an experimental trial" but you don't explain why you think it was wrong of the vet to have done so, or why you are not convinced that the vet was not rather treating the pet as an animal whose life was worth trying to save despite the wishes of the owner to have the animal killed.

In the second paragraph of your second section, you claim that it is relevant "to know that the previous experiments were 95% unsuccessful" but you don't fully explain why that is relevant or, indeed, what it is relevant to.

The argument of your next section is very unclear. It's not clear, for instance, why you say consequentialism "weights more" than deontological ethics, or in what sense or to what end it is more important (if that is what you mean by "weights more".) It's not clear, also, why you say "the action of conducting the experiment might have been the right one," or how that judgment relates to the reason you offer in support of it (that "Dr. Cee is not even sure if the result will be desirable or not"). When you say "this particular issue about not informing is believed to be morally wrong," you seem to be begging the question (in the logical sense of that phrase).

I'm afraid I don't have time to go through your essay sentence by sentence to point out each instance of lack of clarity or argumentative development, but that is the main issue that you need to focus on when revising your work. Your section on feminist ethics is ellipitical, for instance, and so its point is fairly opaque, while the section on "virtue ethics" seems to lack any conclusion relevant to the goal of the study as a whole.

Best, EJ.
Submitted by: pari
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