Jerry’s medical training does not qualify him to issue the refill order. The patient’s physician is the one who needs to determine whether or not the patient should have a prescription of Valium issued for his flight or not. Jerry’s medical training does not qualify him to issue any prescription to any patient regardless of what it is and who it is for. If a patient’s prescription request was for control of high blood pressure that the patient critically needed on a daily basis Jerry would still not have the professional credentials to allow him to issue the prescription orders.
If faced with such a scenario Jerry should explain to the patient that he does not have the right to issue a prescription of any kind but that he would make it his first priority to tell the receptionist when he or she returned from his or her lunch break. If Jerry called in the refill and the patient had an adverse reaction while flying Jerry would not be protected from a lawsuit under the doctrine of respondent superior.
Both Jerry as well as him employer would be at risk for malpractice.
The doctrine of respondeat superior states that if an employee commits an error that the employer is responsible because they are always responsible for the actions of their employees. My advice to Jerry would be to kindly explain to the patient that he does not have the authority to issue any prescription of any kind but that he could either pass on the message to the receptionist when he or she returned for lunch or give the patient the time that the receptionist is due back from lunch and suggest that the patient calls back at that time.
The decision that Jerry makes in the given scenario could be affected by a few different things. First Jerry would likely feel empathy for the patient who called and requested that his prescription be filled, which will likely make Jerry want to help the patient. The patient explains to Jerry that he has a flight to catch shortly and he requires his prescription of valium to be filled so that he can relax in order to take his flight. As much as Jerry may want to fill the prescription for the patient he must think about the possible consequences that could arise from him filling it.
The things that are illegal or not allowed are almost always unethical, which is why they are not allowed. Often we as individuals believe that we know what is ethical and what is not and that we make the right decisions but this is not always the case, which is why laws and rules are created that aid us in making correct decisions. In the health care field it is extremely important that health care providers make the correct decision providing patients with good care.
If a health care provider makes a bad decision a patient can be affected very negatively by it, and it could result in injury or even death. When an individual is faced with a decision in a time of crisis it becomes very stressful and decreases the chances that the correct ethical decision will be made. While making the decision Jerry needs to consider the patient and what is best for him. Jerry is not his health care provider and therefore does not know the patient and his medical history.
There could now be a reason why the patient should no longer take Valium and it could be harmful to the patient if he does. This is why the patient’s health care provider should be informed of the patients request and the one to decide wither or not the patient should have that prescription filled or not. It is extremely important for any one who works in the health care field to understand the legal implications of both their health care position as well as for the patient before problem solving and decision-making, as well as be educated about ethics.
Medical ethics are an applied ethic, which means that it is the practical application of moral standards that concern benefiting the patient. When an individual is properly aware of the legal implications and educated regarding ethics and problem solving that individual will know how to make good decisions beneficial to themselves as health care providers, their patient(s), as well as their health care organization.
If an employee does something wrong their employer can be held as reliable as they are because they are responsible for their actions.
References: YARDLEY-NOHR, T. (2010). ethics and etiquette. YOUR BELIEF SYSTEM. Massage & Bodywork, 25(6), 104-107. Retrieved January 22, 2011 from EBSCOhost. American College of Physicians. 1984. “Ethics Manual. ” Annals of Internal Medicine Retrieved January 26, 2010 from .