Free essay about medical law and ethics

According to the case study, it is clear that the deeds of the medical practitioner are coming due to incompetency in the job. This makes the case to be an ethical act or problem. The doctor ought to have known that it is always recommended to treat all the patients equally. For example, the case of Marguerite who was to undergo angiogram shows lack of medical ethics among the doctors. This case presents legal and ethical problems in hospitals. It was wrong for the angiogram physicians to decide to attend Sarah instead of Marguerite basing on the reason that Sarah is younger than Marguerite and thus has high chances of surviving than her. This is illegal as all the patients have equal rights of attendance (Fremgen, 2002). Though Sarah was in critical condition, the doctors could organize another angiogram room for her. Marguerite was to receive attendance first as she was the first one to be admitted. The angiogram room was arranged mainly for her and thus it was ironical for her to die yet the angiogram room was arranged for her attendance. If the doctors attended her may be, she could survive. Although Sarah W was in critical conditions, the physicians could organize to take her to a nearby hospital due to inadequate angiogram rooms in Chicago’s Memorial Hospital. This is because the angiogram room was arranged mainly for Marguerite and legally it was right for her to get attendance first.
In cases where there is dilemma in hospital about which patient should be attended first the physicians need to apply their knowledge. The criteria a physicians need to apply is to look at the critical conditions that need quick attendance for the patient to survive. In such cases, it is illegal for the physicians to attend the patient basing on such factors as age, sex, social status and even economic statuses of the patient (Pattinson, 2006). If in the case of Marguerite and Sarah, physicians attended Sarah, basing on the criteria that Sarah was on critical condition it could be right. The physicians in this case based their argument on the criteria that Sarah was younger than Marguerite and had high chances of recovering which was a very wrong criterion. When Dr. K is speaking to the family of marguerite he will justify this if he tells the family that Marguerite died while waiting for her attendance , since Sarah had to be attended first as she was in critical condition than her. If the family members get the news that Sarah had to be attended at the expense of Marguerite on the criteria that Sarah was younger than Marguerite, they may take legal actions on the physicians. If one of the physicians or caregiver of Marguerite disagrees with this decision, they will have to report this to the management and the dilemma will be sort out. A solution will be arrived at after a dialogue.
On the other hand, when doctors attend patients during any kind of treatment that involves injection and operation, they need to be careful. Since failure to make more emphasis on this sectors in the medical situation may lead to the patients or even the doctor himself or herself getting some minor injuries that normally come with dire consequences like in the case study where more than 7, 000 patients got affected and contracted HIV and hepatitis C. It is true that Dr. Wayne Scott Harrington did an ethical injustice. Despite the fact that there could be some urgency in terms of dealing with patients, much caution is supposed to be applied for both the patient and the doctor. Any of the two can get infected in the process of administering treatment (Pattinson, 2006). Some unsterilized equipment like needles and some others are very dangerous and can cause any accident when handled without much caution.
It would be in order for the physician to choose the case that will benefit a group of remaining patients rather than saving one then later on making many to suffer in turn. If any case Dr. Wayne Scott Harrington could have considered this precaution, many lives that are currently in death line could have been saved. This is because; it is known that HIV and hepatitis C are deadly diseases with no cure still. Even though it is believed that life is precious and should not be lost, but in situations where many lives are to be saved, it would be wise enough to cost one person’s life for the sake of the many. This will help in building a strong society with adequate faith in the medical practitioners. Since hospitals, normally deal with a community, it will not make sense if the whole community is set to perish just because of a single individual something he or she could have faced alone and save the whole lot of individuals within the society with the help of the physician (Fremgen, 2002).
According to the case study, it is quite evident that it can be a bit tough on the side of Dr. K. in making and giving appropriate justification concerning the decision he made when he was speaking to the family of Marguerite M. (Fremgen, 2002). Given that the family of Marguerite M was a grieved lot, he could have used some of the professional reason in supporting his statement.


Fremgen, B. F. (2002). Medical law and ethics. Upper Saddle River, N. J: Prentice Hall.
Pattinson, S. D. (2006). Medical law & ethics. London: Sweet & Maxwell.