Ethical dilemmas are often solved by various stakeholders coming together, analyzing the situation, and making recommendations. In the health care setting, this is the responsibility of an ethics committee. Ethics committees may be comprised of individuals from various roles within the organization, ranging from leadership positions to mid-level patient care professionals.
You are a member of your hospital’s ethics committee. A physician, Dr. Pierce, presents the following case to the committee, seeking a recommendation:
Jane Smith is currently hospitalized, for the seventh time in 11 months, and is suffering from the following conditions: hypertension, atrial fibrillation, and alcoholic fatty liver (exacerbated by continued heavy alcohol consumption). Jane is severely obese and unable to walk unassisted. Jane’s medical condition is stable enough to be discharged, however, Dr. Pierce cannot in good conscience discharge her home, as she is unable to walk, and has no assistance at home. Jane is resistant to transfer to a skilled nursing facility, which is Dr. Pierce’s professional recommendation. Jane is also receiving Medicare benefits.
- Briefly summarize the discussion points you would make during the committee meeting, including any questions for Dr. Pierce.
- One of your fellow committee members proposes that Adult Protective Services be called. What is the ethical implication of following this course of action, without informing Jane first?
- If Jane continues to refuse the skilled nursing transfer, and Adult Protective Services is not involved, could Dr. Pierce and/or the hospital be held liable if Jane passes away at her home due to her lack of mobility? Be sure to include in-text citations to support this response.
- In a concise paragraph, provide the committee’s official recommendation, including rationale, for Jane’s case. [Assume answers to your questions for Dr. Pierce]. This recommendation will be legal and ethical protection for Dr. Pierce, and the hospital.
- Include a minimum of three references, in APA format, for this assignment.