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This is the signature assignment for this course and is worth 200 points.
1. Quickly skim the questions or assignment below and the assignment rubric to help you focus.
2. Read the required chapter(s) of the textbook and any additional recommended resources. Some answers may require you to do additional research on the Internet or in other reference sources. Choose your sources carefully.
3. Consider the discussion and the any insights you gained from it.
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Students will complete an APA paper about the following case study. The provided case study represents ethical issues of historical interest.
A nurse has sued Memorial Hospital, charging that she was demoted after complaining about a heart surgeon tossing bloody tissue at her during an operation. The eight-page complaint filed Friday in U.S. District Court by Sonja Morris alleges that Dr. Bryan Mahan tossed the 4-by-6-inch piece of tissue at her, hitting her on the leg during an open-heart surgery in August 2008. She contends Mahan made a joke about it to the other surgeons, saying, “Oh (expletive), I hit her. Can we get cultures on that?” Morris said she felt humiliated as the other surgeons chuckled. Mahan could not be reached for comment Friday afternoon.
Morris claims that the incident was part of a pattern of harassing behavior by Mahan toward her. She also alleged that in June 2008, Mahan came up behind her and hit her in the head. She told him to stop, but two weeks later, he did it again, the suit alleged. Again she asked him to stop.
Chris Valentine, a spokesman for the hospital, declined to comment on the lawsuit. “Obviously, because it’s in legal hands, we’re not in a position to comment,” he said. Mahan is the chairman of cardiac and thoracic medicine at Memorial. He is not named as a defendant in the lawsuit. Morris has worked at the hospital as a nurse since June 1999. She has been a member of the heart surgery team since October 2007.
The incident with the bloody tissue occurred on Aug. 28, 2008, after normal working hours during an operation in which doctors were doing a procedure known as a pericardiectomy. The surgery involved removing a protective layer of tissue from the heart. Morris contends that was the bloody tissue that Mahan tossed at her. She said she was standing at a work station about 15 feet away from the operating table. Because the operation was still in progress, she was unable to immediately clean the part of her leg that the tissue hit. She filed a complaint about the incident but said that resulted in no disciplinary action.
On Dec. 10, she filed a notice of claim against Mahan and the hospital. Her complaint to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission alleged that she was subjected to a hostile work environment because of her gender. Seven days later, she said hospital administrators removed her from the heart surgery team, considered a prestigious position, and transferred her to the main operating room. The suit alleged that this action violated her First Amendment rights to petition the hospital to correct something she considered wrong.
Ensslin, J.C. (2009, June 6). Nurse sues Memorial, claims surgeon threw human tissue at her. The Gazette. Retrieved from http://gazette.com/nurse-sues-memorial-claims-surgeon-threw-human-tissue-at-her/article/57418
Morris v. City of Colorado Springs, 666 F.3d 654 (2012) LINK
Answer the following questions:
- What are the facts of the case? This should include: what do we need to know, who is involved in the situation, where does the ethical situation take place, and when does it occur?
- What is the precise ethical issue in regards to autonomy, nonmaleficence, beneficence, fidelity, and justice?
- Identify the major principles, rules, and values of the case. Values are sets of beliefs about good and bad, right and wrong, and about many other aspects of living and interacting in society with others. A principle is a personal rule that governs personal behavior. A rule is generally imposed by a figure of authority and used to guide and govern people.
- Is there legal ground for this case, if so what? Who is at fault? What legal action should be taken?
- Is there alternatives to the actions completed in this case by both the nurse, physician, and healthcare facility? Do you feel the physician and nurse were following hospital protocol?
- If you were a member of the ethics committee at this facility, what actions or changes would you recommend changing? Why?
For the case study, an APA formatted paper should be used and needs to include a title page, level headings, references and citations. This assignment should include at least 2 references and should be at least four pages in length. Students should address the proposed questions by providing ample detail, examples, and additional support.
- Length: At least four pages in length; answers must thoroughly address each question in a clear, concise manner;
- Structure: Reference page required
- address each question in a numbered list
- References: At least 2 references required
- Format: save your assignment as a Microsoft Word (.doc or .docx), Open Office (.odt) or rich text format (.rtf) file type
Expert Solution Preview
This case study presents ethical issues that occurred in historical times. As a medical professor, it is important to analyze the case and derive the ethical problem, identify the involved parties, and propose recommendations based on the medical code of ethics and policies.
1. What are the facts of the case? This should include: what do we need to know, who is involved in the situation, where does the ethical situation take place, and when does it occur?
The case study involves a nurse, Sonja Morris, and a heart surgeon, Dr. Bryan Mahan, at Memorial Hospital. During open-heart surgery in August 2008, the surgeon threw bloody tissue at the nurse, hitting her on the leg, and making a joke about it to other surgeons. The incident was part of a pattern of harassing behavior by the surgeon towards the nurse. Morris filed a lawsuit against the hospital and the surgeon for demoting her after filing her complaints of harassment.
2. What is the precise ethical issue in regards to autonomy, nonmaleficence, beneficence, fidelity, and justice?
The precise ethical issue relates to justice, nonmaleficence, and autonomy. The nurse suffered from harassment and discrimination because of her gender. The hospital should have created a conducive environment that favored all employees irrespective of gender. Nonmaleficence requires medical professionals to do no harm to others. In this case, the surgeon used the nurse as the target of his joke, causing her emotional harm. Autonomy is violated when an individual is discriminated against based on gender, and their rights to work freely in their profession are undermined.
3. Identify the major principles, rules, and values of the case. Values are sets of beliefs about good and bad, right and wrong, and about many other aspects of living and interacting in society with others. A principle is a personal rule that governs personal behavior. A rule is generally imposed by a figure of authority and used to guide and govern people.
The major principles of the case include medical ethics and legal policies. The fundamental value is justice, respecting others’ rights and working towards equality. The nursing code of ethics requires nurses to promote equity and respect for all individuals. The hospital policies and procedures ensure that discrimination and harassment are not accepted in the workplace.
4. Is there legal ground for this case, if so what? Who is at fault? What legal action should be taken?
There is legal ground for this case. The hospital and the surgeon violated the nurse’s rights and subjected her to a hostile work environment, which is against the law. The surgeon is at fault for harassing the nurse, inflicting emotional harm, and creating a negative working environment. The hospital is also at fault for not creating policies that prohibit workplace harassment and not implementing disciplinary actions against the surgeon. Legal action should be taken, reserving the nurse’s rights to compensation for the harm caused.
5. Is there alternatives to the actions completed in this case by both the nurse, physician, and healthcare facility? Do you feel the physician and nurse were following hospital protocol?
There are alternatives to the actions that took place in the case. When Morris filed a complaint about Mahan’s behavior, the hospital administration should have taken disciplinary action promptly, investigated the allegations and ensure retaliation is mitigated. The physician and nurse were not following the hospital’s policies and procedures, which require a respectful working environment that includes no discrimination or harassment.
6. If you were a member of the ethics committee at this facility, what actions or changes would you recommend changing? Why?
The hospital should create policies that prohibit discrimination and harassment and define a clear process for reporting and investigating such incidents. The administration should also educate employees on their rights and responsibilities to ensure they understand the hospital’s code of ethics. The hospital should also ensure all employees, including medical practitioners, behave professionally and follow medical ethics codes to avoid occurrences that can lead to harm or violate the rights of other employees.