Health and Medical Ethics

Health and Medical Ethics

Case Study

A pregnant patient arrived to a Labor and Delivery unit with an emergency situation: she was in an advanced stage of labor, but the fetus was in a breech presentation.

The typical response to this emergency is to perform an immediate C-section (surgical birth) to prevent the infant from getting stuck in the birth canal – a potentially deadly complication.

The mother was from a culture that did not believe in surgical intervention. Through an interpreter, the situation and risks were explained to her; however, she declined surgery, stating that if the baby died it was meant to be.

Prompts/Discussion Questions

What are the ethical challenges with this situation?

What “cure” was the medical team hoping to implement?

What does the patient’s resistance to surgery tell you about her (body-mind-spirit)?

What is the nurse’s role in regard to helping the patient heal after this encounter?