This week we learned about ethics in nursing. There are somethings in healthcare that are clearly ethical or clearly unethical. For example, it is obviously unethical to give a patient HIV in order to study it. However, there is a lot of grey areas when it comes to ethics in healthcare. A few examples that were brought up in our discussion this week were requiring immunization, abortion, treatment of minors with gender dysphoria, withdrawal of life support in pediatric patients, the right of pediatric patients to know their diagnosis and prognosis, and withdrawal of dialysis for patients in permanent vegetative states. On some of these topics we had vastly different ideas about what is and is not ethical. It’s not like any of us are bad people or “wrong” for our thoughts and beliefs, we all have different backgrounds, experiences, and views that lead us to conclude what is and is not ethical. That’s why some of these topics are so difficult.
We learned about the ethics committee and what their role is. I learned that the medical team is not required to do what the ethics committee has determined, it is simply a recommendation, and they can go against the ethics committee’s recommendation. However, generally the medical team will do what the ethics committee recommends. I find this a bit counter-intuitive, because if the ethics committee deems something as ethical or unethical I would figure that we not have the ability to blatantly go against that.