I was watching an old episode of ER and it got me thinking (dangerous, I know). In the episode, an abortion clinic was bombed and the ER was receiving the casualties. One patient was in the middle of an abortion when the bomb went off and the abortion was not completed. When this was found out, the doctor's had to complete the abortion because she was bleeding out and crashing. An intern refused to participate even though without completing the abortion the patient would most likely die.
My question is, legally do nurses have to participate in a case like this? I've thought over the possible answers and can't decide.
Please, please do not turn this into a debate over whether or not abortion should be legal or not. I'm not looking into personal views, but the legalities of not participating.
Mar 8, '06
by Marie_LPN, RN
I don't know what the policy is for something like that where i work, but, IMO, i wouldn't feel like i had the right to refuse in an emergency, and i would feel like i just let the pt. die.
Routine ones is another story. I made sure that the place i work didn't do them, so it's not an issue for me.
Last edit by Marie_LPN, RN on Mar 8, '06
Quote from bethin
This is what I was thinking. It was past the point of no return. The fetus is already dead, so why not try to save the woman's life? Plus, if the fetus is dead there's no way you can explain letting the woman die. You have to stand by your patient.
Having said that, what you have to do, and what you are capable of doing, might be different.
I had a close encounter with a situation like that personally. It was an ICU pt, all tubed up and unconscious. But by some fluke, his criminal activities was on his record - he had been in legal trouble for child molestation. I had an unexpected emotional reaction. I thought, this is a man that could hurt my child. I don't want him to live. You can rationalize from afar, but you can't help how you feel. I was hit with the realization that if I were this man's nurse, which I wasn't, I would definitely ask my assignment to be changed. In a life-saving emergency, I HOPE that I would have the strength and principle in me to do what I need to do professionally, but I have learnt never assume for damn certain what I am or am not capable of doing.
That's also why I feel strongly that I should not have to know about my pt's background that's not related to his/her health. I don't want to be judge or jury.
Last edit by epiphany on Mar 8, '06