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Law and Ethics in Health Care

 


 

Laws and ethical principles safeguard society as a whole and are crucial in guiding the

 

practice of health care. The important role that these disciplines play can be seen

 

clearly in cases involving highly charged issues such as organ donation, in which there

 

is far more demand than supply; in genetic testing, in which the information can be used

 

for good as well as harm; and in life-threatening, communicable diseases, such as

 

HIV/AIDS, in which an individual's right to confidentiality may conflict with the rights of

 

others to have full disclosure about their risks. In this week's Discussion you will apply

 

basic ethical and legal concepts to a significant health care issue and will examine the

 

value of, and differences between, ethics and law in health care.

 

Review the following portions of your readings from Legal and Ethical Issues for Health

 

Professionals, and select one of these topics to focus on in your initial posting. (Note: In

 

your response, you will address a colleague's posting on a different topic.)

 

1.

 

HIV/AIDS and Confidentiality (pp. 86-92)

 

2.

 

Organ Donations (pp. 93?96)

 

3.

 

Human Genetics (pp. 112?114)

 


 


 


 

Prepare for your Discussion by considering the following:

 

What ethical challenges are likely to arise in connection with this health care

 

issue? To help you imagine this, bring to mind a scenario in which you, as a health care

 

administrator, might encounter this issue. Who would be the main parties affected by

 

this issue?

 


 


 


 


 

Consider the ethical principles of autonomy, beneficence, nonmaleficence, and

 

justice, as described in Chapter 1, in light of this health care issue. Which of these

 

principles do you think are most relevant to this issue, and why?

 


 


 


 


 

Review the areas of law (e.g., tort, criminal, and contract) described in Chapter 6.

 

Consider which kinds of laws would probably be most relevant to health care providers

 

and administrators engaged with your selected health issue. For instance, are providers

 

involved in this health care issue at risk of being liable for negligence? Would this

 

involve contracts? Might it involve criminal activity?

 


 


 


 


 


 


 

Formulate for yourself a definition of ethics and of law. How do they differ? Why

 

do you think law alone is an insufficient guide in the practice of health care?

 

In your posting, make use of appropriate terminology and concepts from this week's

 

readings. Post by Day 4 a response to the following:

 

Identify your selected health care issue in the first line of your posting.

 


 


 

Briefly summarize the salient ethical and legal concerns associated with this

 


 


 


 

issue.

 


 


 


 

Explain how one or more of the primary ethical principles would be relevant in

 

helping a health care administrator or provider address this issue.

 


 


 


 


 

What areas of law are likely to be relevant to health care administrators or

 

providers dealing with this issue? Explain why you think so. (You may refer to specific

 

statutes and regulations, such as HIPAA, but you are not required to do so.)

 


 


 


 


 

Briefly compare and contrast law and ethics. Why is ethics, and not simply the

 

law, necessary in guiding the actions of health care providers and organizations? Refer

 

to your selected health care issue, as appropriate, to illustrate your points.

 


 

 


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