Walking the Tightrope Sample Case Study

Walking the Tightrope Sample Case Study

Medical ethics deals with the use of values and moral judgment in providing medical services. Bioethics is an instrument for breaching space between bedside ethics and theoretical medical ethics. According to Kumarswamy and Ahuja (2020), the main objective of bioethics is to intensify the quality of a patient’s care as they settle ethical problems occurring in the providence of medical services. This essay reviews a case study, “walking the tightrope,”  which shows how physicians encounter ethical dilemmas as they offer healthcare to patients when still observing values, medical ethics, and etiquette.

This case study, “walking the tightrope,” shows analyzes a story of an 85 years widow suffering from osteoporotic pain and severe osteoarthritic. This patient is set on placement since she is baffling her medications, not eating adequately, and overdosing at home. Family and healthcare providers are resistant to giving her powerful medication and give her Tylenol, which is ineffective in controlling her pain.

After complaints from her daughter, the physician accepts to give her Nalfon drugs. Resultantly, then she gets terrible side effects; severe gastric bleeding and vomiting blood. This case study postulates that legal and ethical aspects have a pivotal role in resolving clinical challenging matters like pain management and patient autonomy. Legal and ethical responsibilities direct practices of health care providence.

The matter of pain management in a clinical setting has ignited complicated ethical and legal questions that are perhaps too diverse to expound (Pugh, 2018). matters that are of attention are the function of pain management on patient care, the legal responsibility of physicians in pain management, ethical responsibilities of health care providers during patient pain management, and specific actions that physicians must undertake to ensure proper medical outcomes.

Ethical Principles That Pertain To This Case Study

Respect for Autonomy.

Respect the patient and his/her capability to make decisions regarding his/her health and future.  It is the right of one’s determination. It is the basis for the practice of informed consent in physician/patient transactions in health care.


It requires that we should avoid harming. It asserts the need for medical competence. Medical mistakes can occur, and thus, this principle expresses a crucial commitment by health care providers to secure patients from harm.


According to this principle, health care professionals have a responsibility to benefit patients and consider positive steps to prevent and remove harm from patients. These responsibilities are self-evident, rational, and taken as appropriate goals of medicine. The objective of offering benefits may be applied to the patients and the well-being of society.

Laws on the Situation

Informed Consent

Informed consent requirements are that patients have to be capable of understanding and deciding, receiving full disclosure, comprehending the disclosure, acting voluntarily, and agreeing to the suggested action. Since competence is a requirement for this law, one must know to notice incompetency. In the case of previous autonomous but currently incompetent patients, the patient’s previously revealed desires have to get respected. Currently, Incompetent patients and previously competent but currently incompetent patients need a delegated decision-maker.

Truth-Telling/ Veracity

It is a necessary component in a health care provider-patient relationship. If the health care provider does not have this component, he/she loses the patients’ trust. Autonomous patients have not only the right to disclosure of their diagnosis and prognosis, but they also have the choice to reject the disclosure. Therefore, the health care provider has to know which of the options does the patient prefers.


As Guan (2019) notes, health care providers have the obligation not to reveal confidential information by patients to other parties unless they have the patient’s authority. An example is the sharing of necessary medical information of patients from primary doctors to other health care providers. Presently, denudation of confidentiality has accrued in modern hospitals that have many points of testing, consulting, and use the electronic recording of medical data. Individual health care providers must be disciplined in not discussing patients’ medical conditions with their families or social media or social gatherings. Patient confidentiality is worth it.

Determining whether the legal and ethical responsibilities are in alignment with each other

Good medical practices are based upon legal and ethical principles based on respecting patients as an individual. These legal and ethical principles guide the alternatives a physician and a health care provider make while caring for a patient and performing medical research (Hovoruschenko, Herts & Hnatchuk, 2020). Medical research also has to be done in line with ethical principles, and there are specific guidelines for the research. Therefore ethical responsibilities always align with legal responsibilities, but they are distinct.

Specific details of the case that require resolution

The patients’ autonomy should be respected by involving her in the decision-making process

I do not think the patient’s autonomy is respected, and I do not think she is involved. They do not tell her what is happening, and it seems like she has no control over how she wants to live. Autonomy theories involve deliberating managing, understanding, independent choosing, and reasoning. There is none in this case study, it is like the physician is fulfilling the children’s satisfaction, and the children satisfy themselves. They should involve her in decision-making.

Action, the nurse, should take to ensure an appropriate outcome

The nurse or physician should call a meeting of all involved, and it would have been more effective and ethical than piecemeal decision making. To ensure an appropriate outcome, I think the nurse should conduct a meeting with the children, widow, and heads of staff in one room, which would be more beneficial. It would have helped all of them because all could have stated their likes, and there could be an outcome that everyone could be comfortable with (Dubov & Shoptawb, 2020).