Beneficence Toward Whom? Ethical Decision-Making in a Maternal-Fetal Conflict
AACN Clinical Issues in Critical Care Nursing. 1997 Nov; 8(4): 586-594.
Ethical dilemmas and conflicts occur frequently in critical care units. When these dilemmas involve a pregnant patient, the conflicts are further complicated, because they also involve the interests of the fetus. Using an ethical decision-making process facilitates the analysis of ethical dilemmas and their resolutions. This process is used to analyze the dilemma of selecting appropriate treatment for a woman at 30 weeks' gestation, diagnosed with acute lymphocytic leukemia. The case is examined from the perspective of the mother and the fetus, using the decision-making process. The medical indications include the patient's physical state, disease process, and treatment options. Patient preferences are the ethical and legal center of the patient-physician, and patient-nurse relationship. Contextual features include religious beliefs, cultural values, family dynamics, and financial and legal aspects of the care options. Finally, the ethical principles, relevant and in conflict, are assessed. Exploring these areas clarifies the best treatment option in consideration of the issues and facts of the case.
Beneficence; Case Studies; Childbirth; Critically Ill; Consent; Disease; Drugs; Ethical Analysis; Fetal Development; Fetuses; Injuries; Legal Aspects; Leukemia; Life; Nurse's Role; Patient Care; Patient Participation; Pregnant Women; Prematurity; Prenatal Injuries; Prognosis; Quality of Life; Risks and Benefits; Time Factors; Toxicity; Values;
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