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Ethics in Health Care Essay

Essay Topic:

Ethics in Health Care




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Ethics in Health Care

First Comment

It is agreeable that Community Hospital advanced towards an unethical decision when they decided to shut down their emergency room. The action was meant to reduce costs that will induce possibility of bankruptcy. This is because, it is essentially vital for every organization to address the stakeholders first. In this case, the hospital should at first, consider the input and effect of the decision on its stakeholders. By disregarding the main factor associated with health care, that is the patients, the hospital infringes on the principle of human dignity. According to Garrett (2010:89), provision of adequate and basic health care restores and preserves the dignity of the person. Additionally, the decision was unethical since it disregarded the provision of emergency care for patients. Garrett (2010:101) states that rationing of distribution of resources is impossible in instances involving emergency care. Secondly, it is also unarguable that the hospital did not consider the effect of its decision on the financially unstable patients. This is because the resource distribution mechanisms put in place still imbalance the distribution of health care resources among the economically disadvantaged. The statement is further echoed by Garrett (2010:102), who asserts that managed care has not led to adequate distribution of health care since the uninsured poor remain uninsured and further do not receive aids such as Medicare. Consequently, the transfer of patients to the State Hospital could resort to overbearing of the emergency room due to an increase in the number of patients beyond the room’s holding capacity. Thus, ethics deem that every patient should be provided with adequate resources regardless of opposing factors. It is also agreeable that health care professionals have the directive to mobilize the society to aid them make informed decisions, since they have precise knowledge regarding health. This will aid in remedying poor distribution of health care facilities. However, it is disagreeable that the obligation’s limits are constricted to push factors. This is because health care professionals despite being responsible for their patients also have their individual needs and wants (Garrett, 2010: 84).

Second Comment

The second opinion does not border on the principle of human dignity but on the principle of beneficence and non-maleficence, which advocates for committing moral acts and avoiding evil acts at all times. The decision of closing the emergency room is unethical since it infringes the principle by supporting the financial status of the hospital while risking the lives of the patients. It is also inhumane to close the emergency room since it is specifically designed for patients requiring immediate treatment. Relocating such patients to another hospital, that is far, without providing transportation for the poor disrespects humane health care since there is no human dignity (Garrett, 1990:89). However, it is contentious to assert that filing for bankruptcy by the hospital is a wise decision. Financially, filing for bankruptcy will enable the hospital to remain in business and serve the majority. However, the core mandate for any health care provider is to preserve the lives of the patients hence it is wrong for the hospital to shut down its emergency room. Furthermore, by transferring patients to another hospital, the facility should be guilty of patient dumping since it goes against the Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act (EMTALA). Ethically, patient dumping for the emergency patients disregarded human life since the decision to transfer had the possibility of leading to death. Access to the State Hospital due to the distance will also be limited due to the absence of resources such as transportation. Moreover, it is agreeable that the hospital should have been responsible for the provision of triage services since priority should be given to those requiring immediate treatment (Garrett, 1990:97). The hospital should have provided ambulances to transport patients with minor ailments to the State Hospital. Indeed, it is also sufficient to surmise that health care professionals have an obligation to remedy misdistribution, despite being limited by individual needs. Resources should be allocated without bias for the benefit of enhancing a healthy status in the society.


Garrett, T. M. (2010). Health care ethics: Principles and problems. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall.

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