This paper will discuss the legal aspects of the issue as it primarily relates to the ethical decision making model.
The ethical decision making model chosen for this case is the utilitarian model. This theory or model is mainly based on the premise that “an action or practice is right if it leads to the greatest balance of good consequences or to the least possible balance of bad consequences” (Cherry & Jacob, 2005, p. 198). In essence, it is about choosing the decision which would bring the most good and the least possible harm to the person involved in a particular ethical dilemma – in this case, to Mrs. Suzuki. There are various stages in applying this theory, and they include: (1) perception of problem; (2) listing alternatives; (3) making the choice; (4) framing the ethical statement; (5) considering the consequences; and (6) making the ethical decision (Smith, 1993).
In this stage, it is important to review the ethical issue. The ethical issue in this case is on whether or not it would be ethical to ignore the relative’s wishes of not informing Mrs. Suzuki of her illness knowing that the latter has the right to be properly informed of her condition and that she has the right to informed consent. The dilemma lies in the possible health repercussion to Mrs. Suzuki – of turning worse and losing the will to live if informed of her condition. In this case, the ethical principles of patient beneficence and her right to autonomy seem to be in conflict with each other.
There are two possible choices in this case. One possible alternative is to disregard the relatives’ wishes and explain to Mrs. Suzuki about her diagnosis and the different interventions which may be carried out for her. Another possible choice may be to follow the relatives’ wishes and not reveal to the patient her true condition and prognosis. The first alternative is supported by a patient’s right to self-determination or to autonomy. In this ...
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