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Developing a Short Ethical Analysis - A Case Study

3 pages
764 words
Middlebury College
Type of paper: 
Article review
This essay has been submitted by a student. This is not an example of the work written by our professional essay writers.

An ethical dilemma is a situation in which a choice needs to be made between two options with neither choice resolving the issue in an ethically acceptable manner (Allen, 2012). For a situation to be considered an ethical dilemma, three conditions must be present. The first condition is when there is an individual who must decide on the best course of action. The second condition is that there must be different courses of actions from which to choose. Third, no matter what course of action is taken, there is a compromise on some ethical principles. This means that no choice is considered ethically perfect. There are two types of ethical dilemmas that exist. One is absolute or pure ethical dilemma (Allen, 2012). This type occurs when two or more ethical standards apply to a certain situation but which are in conflict with each other. Approximate dilemma involves a complicated situation that requires a decision but which also involves conflicts between values, laws, and policies. In writing an ethical dilemma paper or when attempting to resolve an ethical dilemma, one should first establish the type of dilemma, identify the ethical, moral, legal, and values considerations in the situation after which an ethical decision-making model can then be applied.Our case study can be categorized as an approximate dilemma. This is because it comprises ethical values as well as policies from the insurance company and also involves legal approval. The ethical part of the situation is that the company has the mandate to safeguard the health of their client through covering the medical expenses. There are policies that guide this process such as the one that covers the morcellator surgery and not any other procedure. Legally, the procedure that Ms. Smith is set to undergo using the morcellator is considered safe, by legal and regulatory standards. This makes the decision making complicated. The dilemma lies between the options of reimbursing Ms. Smith with the amount totaling her medical expense or following the insurance policy guidelines and leave her out to sort the issue on her own in which case she says she will forgo the surgery and take her chances.

In the healthcare sector, the basic duty is safeguarding the health of a patient. The ethics in this profession demand that no patient should be denied healthcare on any grounds since health forms the most crucial aspect of a person. With this ethical requirement, Ms. Smith is entitled to receive medical attention in the manner she feels is safe for her, particularly since she is a medical profession and, therefore, is more likely to substantiate her claims about the morcellator. On the other hand, the insurance company is guided by policies and regulations that determine the kind of medical experiments are covered beyond which a patient will have to look for alternative sources of funding. In this case, the insurance company only covers the morcellator surgery. Both sides are equally valid in holding their grounds, yet a decision has to be made. And there is the dilemma on whether to uphold the rules and disregard health or to prioritize health and bend the rules or make adjustments.

The selection of either option will have an impact on the whole procedure of the fibroid removal and insurance coverage for the company and future patients. Allowing Ms. Smith to use an alternative procedure will be placing doubts on the credibility of the morcellator surgery which has all along been deemed safe. This will touch on not only the surgeons but also the company manufacturing the tool. It will also require the insurance company to amend its policies on the extent of coverage and include alternative procedures on the cover in addition to the morcellator surgery. It might also open an avenue for other people to make demands in future and expect to be considered. On the other hand, denying her the request or reimbursement would send a message on the rigidity and negligence of the healthcare sector in their call to uphold healthcare and wellbeing of their clients.

Since the case is delicate, I would advise that ethical values are given priority to rules and regulations. This is because laws are made for man and not man for laws. It is easier to amend a policy or add to it than it is to restore health once it has hit a late stage, especially a cancerous condition. Therefore, in conclusion, Ms. Smith should be reimbursed, and the policy amended to cover for alternative surgical procedures.



Allen, K. (2012). What is an ethical dilemma? New Soc Worker, 19, 4-5.


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