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Ethics vs. Law

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Health care professionals practice in an environment that is complex, with many regulations, laws, and standards of practice. Performing an abortion is legal but may not be considered ethical by other health care professionals or members of the public at large. Other ethical dilemmas arise at the end of life, when a decision must be made to turn off life-support machines and allow death to occur. Other common ethical issues a health care professional might face are confidentiality, relationships with patients and matters related to consent, especially in the treatment of minors.

What are the differences between ethical issues and legal issues? Describe a scenario in which an issue may be unethical, but legal. Describe a scenario in which an issue may be ethical, but illegal. Explain your choices

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Solution Summary

This solution discusses the differences between ethical and legal issues. Scenarios that involve unethical but legal actions and illegal actions that may be ethical are also discussed.

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What are the differences between ethical issues and legal issues?

- Legal issues involve laws - if a law is broken or followed, the choice is a legal choice. Legal issues always involve the question of, "is it legal to do so?" Ethical issues cause an individual, group, or entity to question his/her/their beliefs. With an ethical issue, the person must decide between one or more alternatives, and decide which alternative agrees with the person's morals and values. Ethical issues may or may not be against the law depending on the issue. The same holds true with legal issues. The ...

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