Applying Ethical Frameworks in Practice – Medical Ethics Example

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"Applying Ethical Frameworks in Practice" is a decent example of a paper on medical ethics. The case scenario involves the treatment of a 6-year-old child who needs treatment for meningitis but her divorced parents seem to be at a crossroads. The mother who is not the child’ s biological mother does not want her to be offered medical treatment because she is a Christian scientist whose religious beliefs are against medical treatment. The biological father on the other hand insists that medical treatment has to be offered but he seeks a second medical opinion from another physician. The problem, in this case, is that the child stays with the mother but the father is in another state and hence separated by distance and time.

The primary custody of the child lies with the mother and hence she can make decisions for the child. The father’ s decision seeks ultimate happiness for the child through healing even though he lacks primary custody and is not present in the hospital. The mother who can give happiness refuses treatment which risks the child’ s life. Describe the decision-making model you selected from your readings. The decision-making model chosen is the rationality model.

This model comprises of four different steps which are structured in a sequence manner. The first of these steps is the identification of the problem that causes the dilemma. This step is as simple as it sounds. The next step involves the generation of several different solutions that are alternatives. The reason for coming up with more than one solution is so that an analysis of the pros and cons of each solution to the problem at hand can be examined.

This is a detailed process and requires time to solve it (Jonsen, Siegler, and Wislade, 2010). The third step involves selecting the best solution. This solution is the one with the least disadvantages and which is bound to lead to happiness for the parties in the end. After the selection of the solution, the last step is to implement the solution to the problem and later on evaluate the effects of the solution and whether it has fulfilled its purpose. Failure leads to going back to the second stage of seeking alternative solutions to implement (Tschappeler and Krogerus, 2011). How would you resolve this dilemma using the model? The first step according to the rationality decision-making model is that of identifying the problem.

The problem in this case involves the treatment of the 6-year-old child who has been diagnosed with meningitis. The mother who is not the child’ s biological mother opposes the medical treatment based on her religious beliefs which do not allow medical treatment. Adding on to this belief, she is a Christian scientist which strengths further the resolve not to have the child undergo any treatment despite her sickness.

The biological father agrees to the treatment despite the fact that he needs further consultation from another physician and the fact that he is in another state and lacks the primary custody of the child. There are several alternatives to this problem. The first is to wait for the father of the child to arrive and then seek further treatment for the child. The ultimate goal of this alternative is that the child will eventually receive the medical treatment she urgently requires.

The downside to this solution is that the treatment will take longer since they have to wait for the father to arrive as well as seek a second opinion. The child’ s mother may also have taken matters into her own hands and remove the child from the hospital without any medical treatment despite her sickness based on her religious beliefs (Dyer, 2009). The other solution will be for the father as well as the physician to report the matter to the authority and especially the child protective services which are concerned with enforcing the rights of children.

This is a good solution because it is the right of the child to receive medical treatment without any hindrances. The downside is the publicity and the ordeal it will put the child into and it will also delay the treatment process. The best solution, in this case, is to involve the child protective services. This is best because it will take less time than that of the father having to commute from one state to the other and come to seek a second opinion before the child is offered treatment.

It is also less likely for the mother to take charge of the primary custody and refute the medical treatment the child deserves. The child can easily forget the ordeal and in the end, she will be treated and happy to resume the studies (Freeman, David, and Freeman, 2006). The evaluation will take place a few days later on her treatment progress.   Include, at the end of your paper, a 200-word dialog in which you explain your decision to the family. Doctor: It seems that the family is divided over the matter of treatment of the child despite her condition is serious and requires immediate medical attention.

The child must have the treatment and hence the hospital is disagreeing with the mother about the religious beliefs which cannot allow the child to have the medical treatment necessary.   Mother: I have primary custody of the child and I am therefore allowed by law to take charge of all her welfare including her health and my decision still stands. The child will not have any medical procedure and I will take her home to get well.

She will be healed by God as the religious teachings indicate that he is the healer. Doctor: I understand how you feel as well as your religious beliefs but the child’ s right comes first even in any court of law. Since the biological father of the child is unavailable and may take longer to get here which will not be good for the diagnosed medical condition, the hospital will be taking charge. Doctor: The hospital policy is such situations where there is disagreement about the proper treatment plan for a minor is for the doctor in charge to inform child protective services.

They are charged with the enforcement of the children’ s rights and hence will be the judges of the way forward for the child. Social worker: After a review of the case, it has been decided that according to our rules and the children's rights, the doctor will go ahead and take charge of the treatment and continue with the best treatment plan for the child. The hospital has agreed to take full liability for the child’ s health while she is in hospital and throughout her treatment until she fully recovers.

The judge has signed an agreement to authorize this and the doctor will commence the treatment immediately please just cooperate for the ultimate well-being and happiness of the child.


Dyer, F. (2009). Psychological Consultation in Parental Rights Cases. New York: Guilford Press.

Freeman, M., David, M., and Freeman, A. (2006). Children's Health and Children's Rights. Sidney: Martinus Nijhoff Publishers.

Jonsen, A., Siegler, M., and Wislade, W. (2010). Clinical Ethics: A Practical Approach to Ethical Decisions in Clinical Medicine: A Practical Approach to Ethical Decisions in Clinical Medicine. London: McGraw Hill Professional.

Tschappeler, R., and Krogerus, M. (2011). The Decision Book: Fifty Models for Strategic Thinking. New York: Profile Books.

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