Read/review the following resources for this activity: Develop, in detail,  a situation in which a health care worker might be confronted with ethical problems related to patients and prescription drug use OR patients in a state of poverty. You should not be using any text you used in a discussion board or assignment for this class or any previous class. Cite the textbook and incorporate outside sources, including citations. Purchase the answer to view it

Title: Ethical Challenges in Healthcare: Pharmacological Treatment and Patients in Poverty

The field of healthcare is often confronted with numerous ethical challenges, particularly when it comes to patient care and well-being. Two critical areas that frequently pose ethical dilemmas for healthcare workers are patients’ prescription drug use and patients in a state of poverty. This essay aims to develop a detailed situation that highlights the ethical problems faced by healthcare workers in these areas. The analysis will incorporate relevant information from scholarly sources, amalgamating both textbook references and external citations.

Imagine a scenario where a healthcare worker, let’s call her Dr. Roberts, works in an outpatient clinic situated in an underserved community with a high poverty rate. One of her patients, Ms. Johnson, visits her regularly for ongoing management of chronic pain due to a herniated disc. Dr. Roberts has been prescribing opioid painkillers as part of Ms. Johnson’s treatment regimen. However, recently, Dr. Roberts has noticed unusual behavior during Ms. Johnson’s appointments. She appears disheveled, her speech is slurred, and she often requests an early refill for her prescription, indicating that she has lost or accidentally damaged her medication.

Dr. Roberts is faced with an ethical dilemma in balancing her commitment to patient care, ensuring adequate pain management, and her concerns about potential misuse or addiction. She must navigate the complex ethical dimensions related to prescription drug use, patient autonomy, beneficence, and justice. Ethical principles guide healthcare workers in making difficult decisions in situations like these.

Ethical Considerations:
Patient Autonomy: One principle central to medical ethics is patient autonomy, which grants individuals the right to make decisions about their healthcare. In this case, Dr. Roberts must respect Ms. Johnson’s autonomy by discussing her concerns openly, providing information about the risks and potential consequences of prescription drug misuse or addiction, and involving her in the decision-making process about alternative pain management approaches.

Beneficence: Beneficence refers to the ethical obligation of healthcare professionals to act in the best interest of their patients. Dr. Roberts must ensure that she is actively promoting Ms. Johnson’s well-being, acknowledging her pain and providing adequate pain relief. However, this principle must be balanced with caution to prevent harm caused by opioid dependence, adverse side effects, and the potential for diversion.

Justice: The ethical principle of justice requires healthcare workers to ensure fair and equitable access to healthcare resources. In this case, Dr. Roberts must consider the potential impact of Ms. Johnson’s prescription refill requests on medication availability for other patients. She must deliberate whether granting the early refill request is justifiable in terms of ensuring continuity of care and pain relief for Ms. Johnson while also being mindful of equitable distribution of limited resources.

Textbox 1: According to Cooper, ethics in healthcare involve a dynamic process of weighing competing principles, moral values, legal mandates, and professional norms to guide decision-making. Cooper, A. (2016). Ethics in healthcare (4th ed.). New York, NY: Pearson.

Ethical Analysis:
To address the ethical challenges presented, Dr. Roberts should adopt a multidisciplinary approach, seeking input from colleagues, pharmacists, and pain specialists. Open communication with Ms. Johnson is vital, including explaining the potential risks, side effects, and options available for managing her chronic pain. Moreover, in collaboration with Ms. Johnson, Dr. Roberts should explore non-opioid alternative treatment modalities such as physical therapy, acupuncture, or cognitive behavioral therapy.

It would also be essential for Dr. Roberts to develop a safety plan for Ms. Johnson, considering strategies to prevent addiction, overdose, or diversion. Implementing random drug screening, utilizing prescription monitoring programs, and referring Ms. Johnson to substance abuse counseling could be part of this plan. Furthermore, connecting her with community resources, like support groups or financial assistance programs, can help address any underlying socioeconomic factors contributing to her situation.

The hypothetical situation examined highlights the ethical challenges healthcare workers face when confronted with patient care issues related to prescription drug use and patients in poverty. By applying ethical principles such as patient autonomy, beneficence, and justice, healthcare workers can navigate these complex situations while prioritizing patient well-being. Multidisciplinary collaboration, open communication, and exploring alternative treatments are essential strategies for addressing ethical dilemmas in healthcare.

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