Approaches To Ethical Dilemmas

Ethical dilemmas can occur in all areas of our lives but they seem to be more apparent in the field of medicine. But it does not matter what area of life or study that you find yourself in you need to be able to identify the problem, and make decisions based on reasoned judgement and compassion.

It is usual for different areas of work to teach students how to deal with ethical dilemmas in order that they are able to have the skills and the philosophical abilities to be able to deal with dilemmas in a reasoned, logical and ethical manner that is professional and humane.

Sometimes ethical dilemmas are not as cut and dried as you would think. The most important focus at first is to make sure that the problem or dilemma is really understood. Medical students are usually exposed to these dilemmas through hypothetical situational judgements. It is usual for the students to be given 4 or 5 outcome options. These can then be discussed as part of a group or with senior doctors and professors.

Ethical Dilemmas can come in various degrees of severity. Not every outcome of an ethical dilemmas can be applied to every situation that seems to have the same problem. There is no one size fits all. If that was solution then there would be a lot of unhappy people who would feel that their needs had not been acknowledged nor heard.

To identify the problem, is not as easy is it sounds there are usually several aspects of a case that need to be considered. In the case of a situation that may involve the request from a relative for information about a patient when that relative has not been named by the patient as someone that medical staff can share information with, how is that handled when the relative is a close member of the family?

Other day-to-day problems could be dealing with a request from a patient to withhold information from their insurance company. It is important to realise that all ethical dilemmas exist when there are values that need to be upheld, or principles that have been challenged. Each ethical dilemma, usually has more than one component and each of the components need to be examined and investigated before a final decision.

It is usual to have to seek gather more information in order to make a decision. Finding out more information may make the dilemma seem even more complex but it means that he situation is thoroughly investigated. People will only tell you what they think that you need to know at the time. Be a detective.


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