Moral Dilemmas And Ethical Decisions

Create a 15-minute oral presentation (3–4 pages) that examines the moral  and ethical issues related to triaging patients in an emergency room.

Working in an emergency room gives rise to ethical dilemmas. Due to time  restraints and the patient’s cognitive impairment and lack of medical  history, complications can and do occur. The nurse has very little time  to get detailed patient information. He or she must make a quick  assessment and take action based on hospital protocol. The organized  chaos of the emergency room presents unique ethical challenge, which is  why nurses are required to have knowledge of ethical concepts and  principles.

Your supervisor has asked you to do a 15-minute oral presentation at a  staff meeting about a recent issue that occurred at another hospital in  town. Following an industrial accident, two patients arrived at the  emergency room of that hospital at the same time, presenting with very  similar inhalation injuries. The hospital received a great deal of  negative press due to how the patients were triaged in the ER. Your  supervisor would like you to use the specifics of this case to review  triage procedures and best practices at your facility. Here are the  details:

  • One is a 32-year-old firefighter, Frank Jeffers, who is  presenting with respiratory difficulties that he obtained while  evacuating victims of an industrial accident. He is a married homeowner  and father of two young boys. He has lived in the community all his  life. He has full and comprehensive health insurance through his  employer.
  • The other is Brent Damascus, a 58-year-old man. Brent is  presenting with respiratory difficulties with the same intensity as Mr.  Jeffers above. He is well known at the hospital emergency room, as he is  a frequent visitor with various complaints, including asthma,  headaches, and tremors. He is homeless, unemployed, and uninsured. He  stays many nights at the YMCA and eats lunch at the soup kitchen. He has  lived in the community for over 10 years and has been arrested several  times for petty theft.


Search the Capella library and the Internet for scholarly and  professional peer-reviewed articles on best practices in triage nursing.  You will need at least three articles to use as support for your work  on this assessment.


Create a 15-minute presentation (3–4 pages) that examines the moral  and ethical issues that occurred when triaging these two patients and  the best practices for managing this in the future.

Divide your draft into a number of talking points that you can  summarize neatly. Keep in mind that an oral presentation requires  slightly different language than an essay. The aim is to communicate  your message so keep sentences simple and focus on the key points you  want to deliver. Address the following in your presentation:

  • Explain the health care policies and protocols that are in place that direct triage care in an emergency situation.
  • Explain how health care disparities impact treatment decisions.
  • Identify the health care policies that are in place that direct  care for uninsured individuals. Is there a difference in how these  individuals are triaged?
  • Describe the moral and ethical challenges nurses can face when  following hospital policies and protocols. Is there a conflict when a  severely injured person is also uninsured?
  • Recommend evidence-based strategies that should be applied for managing the care of uninsured and indigent population.
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