Ethical Situation Paper - Need Help Please

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We have been given a difficult assignment, and I'm stumped. I would really appreciate any help!

An APA formatted paper about an 'Ethical Situation encountered in Clinical'. An ethical principle must be addressed such as futility, beneficence, nonmaleficence, autonomy or justice.

Our clinical instructor said that since we may have not had an actual ethical situation occur, we may 'creatively alter' a situation to make it fit. I STILL don't really have a topic! Our clinical is on a cardiac step-down floor. Lots of very sick, and mostly elderly patients.

So stumped. Any hints or suggestions for a situation to write on would be really appreciated!!!

A story brought up in my ethics class was about a family who was told their mother had cancer, well the mother didn't know yet, and the family did not want the doctor to tell her. classic case of autonomy there.

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I really enjoyed my ethics class. We did a number of papers for this class, including a major one on end-of-life care and termination of treatment. I bet you'll find that a heap of your elderly patients are DNR but with all active measures aside from active resuscitation. (I don't know what you call it in the US but usually they're put down as NFR - not for resuscitation - WITH MET (medical emergency team) calls.) That's an interesting one, where and when do you draw the line between active measures to save a life and physically resuscitating a person for that purpose?

We also looked at when and how to pull the plug when the patient is unconscious and can't make that call for themselves, especially in the absence of a "living will" or advance directive.

What about futile treatment? What is it and when is it acceptable to withdraw it? (E.g. artificial nutrition and hydration of a long-term vented pt.)

On a totally different note, we also looked at issues in mental health and involuntary detention. Is sectioning someone always the right course of action? Is it inherently undemocratic, unjustly paternalistic and often unnecessary? Research suggests that sectioning is often used for staff ease rather than best interest of the patient.

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