The first case of HIV/AIDS in the United States was identified in 1981; however a blood sample taken in 1959 confirms the existence of the disease at that time (History of AIDS, 2005; Gorman, 1998; Coughlin & Beauchamp, 1996). Initially, significant negative stigma hindered the public health processes that may have helped to identify and slow the progression of the disease within the society. HIV was viewed as a gay man’s disease, and diagnosis with the virus could have resulted in residential eviction, professional termination, social isolation, and other discriminatory practices (Beauchamp & Steinbock, 1999). The development of testing for HIV had additional negative connotations as some intended the results to identify homosexuals in order to fire them (Beauchamp & Steinbock, 1999). Due to the severe public reaction, public health information was gathered at a cost of extreme confidentiality; identifying the disease but not the individual carrying it. In this manner, the containment of the disease was slowed and transmission of the disease was not adequately countered. Continue reading »
Within the healthcare system, it is important for healthcare professionals to maintain ethical standards, including those that govern respect for persons, a primary component of which is autonomy, and beneficence. Continue reading »
You are a paramedic arriving at an emergency scene. A group of scouts has entered a cave that is now filling with water. They were led into the cave by a rather large scoutmaster. Unfortunately, while leading them out of the cave, the scoutmaster somehow managed to get stuck in a narrow opening with only his head and shoulders protruding out. With his upper torso stuck outside the cave, it appears the scoutmaster will survive, but all the boys below will drown if they cannot escape.
After you have checked all possible escape routes and have attempted to extricate the scoutmaster, it becomes clear that the only way to save the boys is to sacrifice the scoutmaster, so he can be removed. This is, unfortunately, not the Winnie the Pooh story where Rabbit has the option of waiting until Pooh loses weight. What is the correct action for this case?
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Physicians and caretakers are often faced with difficult dilemmas that require assisting patients and families to choose a specific course of action. Few environments are as demanding on the professional relationship as within medicine; treatment plans, end-of-life decisions and day-to-day recommendations balance risks with the patient’s best interests. Especially in the medical field, providers’ recommendations must maintain ethical standards. Ethical is defined at Dictionary.com (n.d.) as: “being in accordance with the rules or standards for right conduct or practice, esp. the standards of a profession”.
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