Ethical Dilemma in Health Care

Ethical Dilemma
Ethical Dilemma

Ethical Dilemma in Health Care 

Participation of nursing and medical professionals in the lethal execution process

Ethical Dilemma in Health care. The case study selected is on the ethical dilemma of the participation of nursing and medical professionals in the lethal execution process. The nursing professional ethics describe the role of nurses as alleviation of suffering, maintenance of good health and assistance in peaceful death through palliative care. The case study presents facts about previous cases where the untrained correctional staff members have erroneously administered the lethal drugs used in the execution of the lethal death penalty. Intervention to end the erroneous administration of the lethal agents should be the supportive role of that correctional the nurses should perform. However, nursing professional bodies have threatened to take disciplinary actions against nurses who participate in the process of executing prisoners through lethal drug administration (Hooten & Shipman, 2013; Johnson, 2008).

Further, according to the right judgment stage of the ethical discussion making model, the moral judgment about the ethical dilemma presented is the nursing ethical perspective. The ethical judgment is concerned about the legal obligation imposed on correctional nurses to participate in the execution process as part of their professional duties. The ethical behavior that occurs in the case is manifested through the refusal of nurses and medical professionals to participating in the process of execution of prisoners sentenced to death. The ethical behavior is as a result of adherence to the existing professional code of ethics (Chorus, 2015).

The cause of the issue is disagreement between the legal system and the nursing code of ethics. The legal system requires nurses to participate by correctly administering the lethal agents in death penalty execution. The nursing profession prohibits the participation of nursing professionals in causing death (Hooten & Shipman, 2013).

The issue affects nursing professionals, medical practitioners, and leaders of correctional facilities. Nursing and medical professionals are involved since they are the only trained personnel in the administration of the lethal agents used in the execution. Factors that have contributed to the emergence of the ethical dilemma of nurses’ role in lethal execution include the history of an erroneous administration of the lethal execution (Johnson, 2008).

The erroneous drug administration is due to lack of sufficient training and experience of prison technicians who carry out the lethal execution (Hooten & Shipman, 2013).

The communication styles used in the article are appropriate for the topic. The authors use historical examples of the cause of the problem, in the administration of lethal agents in execution. The article uses numerical figures to quote research studies that have been done on the topic of the dilemma of nurses participating in a lethal execution. The author communicates through rhetorical questions in providing a solution to the ethical dilemma presented. Through the article, the author communicates through probing the reader on the roles of the nurse on ending prisoner’s suffering during execution. The author poses questions on whether the nurses’ involvement in execution could translate into the termination of the suffering of prisoners during lethal execution (Johnson, 2008).

The article effectively presents a discussion on the issues of a dilemma on nurses’ participation on a lethal execution of prisoners sentenced to death. The author presents the history of lethal execution, the method used, numerical figures and instances of errors in lethal execution and the ethical dilemma that presents to nurses (Johnson, 2008).

The authors propose that the nursing professional bodies should agree with the legal system on the ethical dilemma surrounding participation of nurses in lethal execution. This solution enhances the professional collaboration between nursing, medical and legal profession about the dilemma of lethal execution (Hooten & Shipman, 2013). Consult us today.


Chorus, C. G. (2015). Models of moral decision making: Literature review and research agenda for discrete choice analysis. Journal of choice modelling, 16, 69-85.

Hooten, J., & Shipman, D. (2013). Comment: The ethical dilemmas of nurses’ participation in prisoner executions. Nursing Ethics, 20(4), 491.

Johnson, K. W. (2008). Legal Briefs. AANA journal, 76(6), 417.


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