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Applying Ethical Frameworks in Practice

            An ethical dilemma is a common type of situation that involves two or more morally correct courses of action that cannot both be followed, placing the agent in a precarious position (Purtilo & Doherty, 2011). Ethical dilemmas include the agent, or the responsible one, with two different courses of action that both lead to two different outcomes. The agent may be doing something right by taking one path, but are also wrong for not taking the other path. Ethical dilemmas involve weighing personal values, beliefs and sense of right and wrong. Therefore, it is important for the nurse to examine their own personal values, beliefs and morals when faced with ethical dilemmas. .
             The ethical dilemma in this case scenario is that the six year old is considered a minor and therefore legally the physician must obtain consent from the legal guardian. However, the non-biological mother who has primary custody, is citing religious beliefs to refuse treatment, while the biological dad, who is in another state, is wanting to seek treatment leaving the healthcare team perplexed as how to move forward with the child's care. The custodial mother has the right to refuse treatment, as the dad also has the right to want to seek treatment, and both choices could lead to two very different outcomes. Therefore, when coming to a decision where strong emotions are involved, it is important that the healthcare team utilizes a decision making model to determine the most ethical, calm and level-headed approach to solving this dilemma. .
             The decision making model that will be utilized to solve this ethical dilemma is the six-step process outline by Purtilo and Doherty (2011) in "Ethical Dimensions in the Health Professions". The six step process is a formalized, organized approach allowing for reflection and analysis of morality of the situation (Purtilo & Doherty, 2011). The six step process will be outlined and further discussed in the next paragraph.

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