Legal and Ethical Issues for Health Professionals, Fifth Edition, has been designed to encourage the reader to learn the often-dreaded subject of ethics and the law while enjoying the journey from the didactics of the classroom to the practical application in the workplace. The Fifth Edition provides the reader with a clearer understanding of how the law and ethics are interwoven as they relate to healthcare dilemmas. The practical application of ethics in the healthcare setting is accomplished by interspersing the thoughts of great minds through Quotes; current healthcare events through News Clippings; human behavior through Reality Checks; and legal rulings and summaries through legal Cases. The book concludes with a courtroom drama that illustrates the complexities of human behavior, while tying together the contents of the book in one case. The reader will learn how to evaluate and distinguish between the rightness and wrongness of alternative courses of action when faced with complex ethical dilemmas. Ethics in the healthcare setting focuses on doing the right thing for both patients and caregivers. When caregivers consider matters of law and ethics, they often involve matters of freedom in regard to personal choices, values, judgments about human character, and obligations to others. This book, as with the previous editions, begins and ends with the premise that to act in an ethical manner requires the reader to engage in conduct according to generally accepted principles of right and wrong. The author’s objective is therefore to provide the reader with a formidable and meaningful understanding of ethics and the law as they relate to addressing many of the more common ethical dilemmas encountered in the delivery of patient care and how to apply that knowledge in the healthcare setting.
A study published in the American Journal of Bioethics, in a July 2008 article entitled “An Urgent Call for Ethics Education,” describes the importance of ethics education and its influence on moral confidence and moral action. To make good decisions, we must first understand that they will be only as good as our knowledge of what is right and what is wrong. There is a deluge of ethical issues in every aspect of human existence. Although cultural differences, politics, and religion influence who we are, it is all of life’s experiences that affect who we will become. Ethics and the law are interwoven. Ethics describes our values and morality—distinguishes good from evil. The law, on the other hand, describes our commonly accepted principles of good behavior and provides punishment for those who fail to adhere to these principles. The cases presented here are not exhaustive for any one profession but often have application across all healthcare disciplines. Caregivers who have a clear grasp of the ethical and legal concepts discussed in this book will be better prepared to make healthcare decisions that are ethically sound and legally correct. Presented here is a sampling of the wide range of questions that can be asked and discussed when analyzing ethical dilemmas.