Ethical Dilemma

Institutional Affiliation
Ethical Dilemma
The field of nursing is governed by principles and codes of conduct that
are meant to ensure patients receive quality medical services and that
the welfare of the patients is upheld (Galanti, 2012). Linda case
highlights ethical issues that emerge from cultural differences between
nurses and their patients. Linda is confronted by a serious issue of
weighing the impacts of cultural sensitivity and ensuring ethical
standards in the health care clinic.
Mrs. Saeto cultural practices regarding the aspect of pain in young
children would be perceived as an act of child abuse and torture by many
medical practitioners. The Mein cure (traditional cure for pain) of
alleviating pain in young children as espoused in this case study
reveals the agony and cruelty inflicted on the child all in the name of
preserving a cultural norm. Culture forms an important aspect in lives
of most individuals and nurses need to recognize and understand the
various dynamic and challenges that they will encounter in health care
units. The boundary between respecting and understanding cultural
aspects and condemning norms and practices that are dangerous and
detrimental to the health of the patient is very thin. Some fundamental
factors must be considered before deciding whether to allow or condemn a
given cultural practices (Galanti, 2012).
In Linda’s case the mother of the young patient has contributed to
unprecedented harm and agony to the young one by looking for cultural
remedy to redress perceived and imagined health concerns. First, the
fact that the child, Marie was throwing her head back does not mean that
is enough prove there is a health concern to be wary about. Secondly,
burning Marie’s abdomen to dispel pain in real sense caused the child
more pain than that imagined. After examination Linda discovers that
Marie has no other health problems apart from the burns but notes that
Marie has to undergo through a six months vaccination whereby she would
be injected every month, an act that causes immense disturbance and pain
to the child.
Linda being a professional nurse is therefore confronted with an ethical
dilemma, should Linda report this incident that she perceives as child
abuse to the authority for relevant actions to be taken against the
mother and mother in-law? Failure to report such an incident would be
construed as negligence and alerting the authorities on the incident
would mean that the injection that causes pain to the child should also
not be carried out. Therefore it becomes absolutely important for nurses
and medical practitioners to respect the norms and cultural values of
patients and at the same time ensuring that such practices do not
undermine the health status of those individuals.
Galanti, G. A.(2012). Cultural Sensitivity A pocket Guide for Health
Care Professionals. Oakbrook Terrace, Illinois.

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