Five Top Ethical Issues in Healthcare By Jennifer Larson, contributor March 6, - When members of Congress and the president recently failed to come to terms that would avoid the sequester, many people expressed concern over how the resulting budget cuts will affect medical research and other aspects of healthcare. Some questioned the ethics of an action that could have such a potentially devastating effect on healthcare in the future. But ethical issues in healthcare are common. Which issues impact hospital administrators and clinical leaders the most?
Abortion rates in the UK have been reported, as has abortion globally as an increased method of population control. The reasons for abortion, are varied, including abortion as a contraceptive, attitudes to human life, and disability and eugenics, all of which have been discussed. There is a clear need for the ethical implications of abortion to be addressed in relation to the thoughts, feelings and attitudes of healthcare professionals working with women either considering or opting for an abortion.
Abortions are permitted under the Abortion Act UK Government, by a registered medical practitioner subject to certain conditions. Research by the World Health Organization WHO suggests that abortion rates are steady, at 28 abortions per 1, women globally Sedgh et al.
A quarter of pregnant women in the Ethical healthcare issue abortion have either an unwanted birth or an abortion Aguirre, The abortion rate in girls under years of age was 4.
Rates for girls aged years old were also lower in compared toalthough rates in women aged years of age were higher.
With such a large percentage of the population being subject to an abortion, many health professionals are confronted with the moral and ethical issues surrounding abortions. For example, according to Brodya Ethical healthcare issue abortion should not consider the option of having an abortion when the foetus has developed biologically and genetically, into what is classed as a human being as opposed to a collection of cells.
He maintains that this life, albeit in the early stages, has the same value as any other human life and therefore should be afforded the same rights.
Another contrasting view would be to look at an abortion as a woman acting in self-defence in such instances whereby continuing with the pregnancy could or would damage health or even threaten the life of the woman Warren, ; MacGuigan, It is this type of incidence, in particular, that raises the need for the application of ethical theories.
For example, studies conducted by Marston and Cleland reveal that abortion is not deliberately used as a method of contraception, but is more so used due to a lack of knowledge or understanding by the pregnant woman.
Therefore, it is the obligation of policy-makers and healthcare professionals to ensure that information and contraception are readily available and easy to understand.
This is essential in the empowerment of women, allowing them to take control of their lives and enabling them to take all possible measures against an unwanted pregnancy.
Education is considered to be the easiest and most open non-invasive measure, which where necessary can be provided confidentially, obtained in private, and in some instances contact with a health centre or medical staff is not necessary. However, there will always be cases where an emergency or medical abortion is necessary, no matter how well informed or prepared a woman may be.
In order to improve medical services, healthcare professionals need to ask questions about the level of knowledge the woman has about abortion, in addition to considering relevant ethical issues International Consortium for Medical Abortion, ICMA, They must ensure that the woman has all the information regarding potential risks and problems, that measures to reduce levels of pain are implemented, and that the women is aware of what to expect prior, during and after the procedure ICMA, Additional staffing is also necessary for the provision of more efficient medical services, as well as more empathetic and highly trained staff.
Furthermore, those women who are considering an abortion must have their concerns and the circumstances surrounding their own ethical dilemmas addressed Tremayne, ; Karasahin and Keskin, Although a few women may have feelings of ambivalence or guilt, many also feel a sense of freedom and experience other positive reactions, including relief.
However, the emotional response of a woman and her family to medical or therapeutic abortion is complicated.
A number of factors may help address women at risk of emotional problems and depressive symptoms after abortion Rosenfeld, Women who terminate their pregnancy during the second trimester, have a history of multiple abortions, have pre-existing psychiatric problems or have a lack of support at home are more likely to have emotional problems Rosenfeld, By being aware of this, health professionals can implement the appropriate pre- and post-abortion care.
This is also the case for women who have an abortion for medical or genetic reasons. These women are at increased risk of developing depressive symptoms and therefore health professionals are required to provide the appropriate psychological as well as medical support Boss, Medical ethics related to abortion are most relevant when they focus on the individuals choosing to have an abortion, as opposed to just health professionals carrying out the abortion or treating the aftermath.
To this end, a philosopher, focusing on medical ethics can play a vital role in exposing problems which exist within hospitals. There is an enormous demand for philosophers within the healthcare setting, suggesting a common ethical, moral and social viewpoint that could facilitate advice-giving to health professionals Polaino Lorente, According to this oath, all members of the human race have a right to life and this is agreed globally in conventions such as: While the SPUC consists of members from many different religions, it is not an organisation based on religion.
Nevertheless, this highlights the need of a focus on common acceptable as opposed to religious-based ethical dimensions in contemporary healthcare, especially in terms of considering the ethical implications of abortion. Abortion in the United Kingdom The main reason for legalising abortion in Britain was the suspected number of illegal abortions being carried out.
Pro-abortionists indicated that every year, there wereillegal abortions before legalisation SPUC, b. The committee of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists provides evidence that in England and Wales, there were 15, illegal abortions annually in Event, Thus, in the UK, the application of ethical theories along with related approaches to practical dilemmas in healthcare focusing on abortion is particularly important and relevant.
Actual counts of legal abortions The Abortion Act was agreed in and a year later it became effective as a statute in England, Wales and Scotland. In Britain, five million abortions were performed over this period. Yearly,abortions occurred during the 15 years prior to Indeed, in Britain abortion is efficiently practised on demand Ingham et al.
This poses further ethical implications for healthcare professionals since abortion is no longer only considered for medical reasons, but is frequently a social choice and a method of solving an unexpected or unwanted pregnancy Koyama et al. Contraception and abortion Although the pro-life movement is reluctant to make a connection between contraception and abortion, with some contraceptives there is both a link to abortion and identification with abortion Smith, Ethical Issues in healthcare related to abortion are becoming increasingly relevant, as it provides an opportunity for discussion on various dimensions of contemporary healthcare.
It also examines the application of ethical theories along with related approaches focusing on abortion. framework for abortion providers.
These ethical principles are intended to guide decision making Laws that compromise safe and compassionate abortion care create ethical dilemmas for providers.
For example, laws may ban certain safe procedures, require unnecessary and costly Confidentiality might become an issue when third party . During my senior year at Santa Clara, I led discussions on medical ethics with students interested in medicine.
The purpose of these discussions was two-fold. First, they were created to help bring current ethical issues onto our campus. There are many ethical issues in the healthcare field. These issues range from insurance coverage, senior care, childhood immunizations, beneficence, abortion, medicinal marijuana, honesty and medical research (Fritzsche, D., ).
The ethical questions surrounding this issue are complex, including whether organ donation should continue to be voluntary and whether minors should be allowed to donate organs.
Bioethics and Health Care Management. Human beings have addressed the issue of abortion, whether it be pro-life or pro- Legal and ethical issues have developed based on the concerns of abortion in the health care field.
In , the Human Fertilization and Embryology Act amended the Abortion Act of women receiving prenatal care supported abortion therefore, healthcare.