The health care profession has always been riddled with many legal and ethical dilemmas since time immemorial; health care practitioners, health authorities, as well as the public have often engaged in rigorous discussions regarding many issues in health care practice (Botes…
question of abortion, perhaps one of the most controversial topics in the field, has always been a subject of discussion, given its complex legal and ethical implications, pitting health care professionals against each other and against members of the public. Whereas it may be legal for health care practitioners to perform an abortion today, other health care professionals and members of the public still consider it unethical to do so, thereby creating an ethical dilemma in the field (Wallace, Wiegand & Warren 1997, p.586). Apart from that, other ethical dilemmas emerge at the end of life point, when health care professionals have to make the critical decision of switching off the life-support machines to permit death to occur. As if that is not enough, the issues of confidentiality, patient/practitioner relationship as well as matters to do with consent as in the treatment of underage patients often present numerous ethical dilemmas to health care professionals (Greenwood, 2014). This paper explores the ethical and legal issues that are relevant to health care practice and policy while incorporating critical application of selected theoretical perspectives applicable to ethics in health. Relevant ethical arguments and legal perspectives will be applied to a specific practice situation in reference to the adult learning theory of Knowles (1990). Eventually, this paper will explore the issue related to ethical and legal issues in health care incorporating professional body guidance (NMC code) and legal acts, as well as the views of theorists and philosophers.
The term “ethics” has been conceptualized as “social values”, “morals” or “principles” that enable people in distinguishing between the acceptable and unacceptable social behaviour (Corning 2002, p.6); ethical values form the basis for social interaction because they are deeply entrenched in people. Health care professionals need to know ethical standards or principles and the professional ...
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