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Situation: Ethics and Law

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Situation: A female patient is admitted through the emergency department to the hospital. An emergency termination of pregnancy is needed due to immediate danger to her life. One member of the surgical team refused to take part in the procedure due to personal moral beliefs about terminating a pregnancy. A replacement was made immediately.
Considering both the rights of providers and the patient involved, address the following questions:
- Are there any ethical issues presented in this case? Why or why not?
- Are there any legal issues presented in this case? Why or why not?
- Will management have to address this refusal by the surgical team member who opted out of the surgical procedure? Why or why not?

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Solution Preview

There is a clear ethical issue presented in this case, which is whether a health care provider has the right to refuse to provide treatment (in this case, an abortion) to a patient due to his or her moral beliefs. There is also the added context of an emergency situation where the pregnancy needs to be terminated immediately to prevent danger to the patient's life. The issue is complex and involves the conflict between the patient's right to receive adequate health care (and by extension, the patient's right to life) and the health care provider's right to act in accordance with his or her moral beliefs.

The right of health care ...

Solution Summary

The ethics and laws are examined for situations.