Law and Ethics in Health


Case study analysis essay assignment brief:

You are required to read the following scenario:

Tim is a 32 year old man who was admitted via the emergency department following a fight at a weekend football match he attended as a spectator. A physical examination revealed a dislocated shoulder, deep scalp lacerations and extensive bruising to his face and upper body. The emergency department was very busy, with multiple ambulances arriving and many patients being admitted, therefore, it took some time for Tim to be admitted for surgery. During this time an alcohol and drug screen was undertaken, and these tests were clear. Tim did not like waiting and he stated he felt unwell and drowsy. He became increasingly noisy and uncooperative, which was a change from when he arrived; at that time, he was lucid and polite. Tim was fasted, went to the operating theatre and returned to a room on the ward. On waking, Tim’s observations were stable, although the nursing staff had difficulty doing his postoperative observations as he was drowsy and noncompliant. Two hours after surgery Tim stated: “I’m going back to the football match because my team need me to play”. The registered nurse and medical officer on duty tried to persuade Tim not to leave but he continued arguing and shouted: “Leave me alone, don’t touch me, I want to get out of this bed”. The doctor thought that perhaps this behaviour may be attributed to pain and as a result ordered intramuscular morphine. Tim stated: “I’m not in pain, I don’t want morphine”. The registered nurse went ahead as per the medical officers orders and administered the injection to Tim, whilst another registered nurse and a nursing assistant held Tim to prevent him from struggling. This caused the needle to break off, and necessitated further surgery, which resulted in an additional four weeks in hospital.

Your overall aim is to demonstrate to the marker your understanding of the unit content (legal and ethical issues, including the Registered Nurses professional codes and standards) by relating them to the specific elements of the scenario. To do this you will provide an analysis: a detailed examination. DO NOT REWRITE THE SCENARIO, rather your discussion should be focused upon the unit content. Use the applicable parts of the scenario as a basis to demonstrate your understanding of the unit content e.g. beneficence,   Deontology duty of care, tort of negligence, Registered Nurses Standards for Practice, The ICN Code of Conduct for Nurses etc.

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The assignment will be marked using the School of Nursing and Midwifery standard marking rubric, which you will find on the unit Blackboard site. Please read each criterion carefully and reflect the positive criteria in your essay. The assignment brief is structured under the same headings as the marking rubric, please consider both documents carefully as you construct your essay

You need to consider:

• the use of an ethical decision-making framework to plan your work (see week 1 tutorial presentation for an example).

• the relevant unit content, ethical and legal/professional concerns (introduced and discussed throughout the unit up to and including week 6), that the scenario raises.

• the possible actions or inactions/omissions that occurred, focusing on the implications from a legal and ethical perspective. Which ethical, principles, doctrines or concepts apply to the actions/inactions put forward and how? Do any ethical theories support, or do not support those actions/inactions? Which torts or other legal concerns apply to your identified actions/inactions?

• do any of the ethical theories or principles conflict with each other or with the law? If so, discuss from both perspectives.

• The need to apply the relevant Registered Nurse professional codes and standards to the appropriate areas of your discussion to create in depth analysis


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