Law and Ethics are taught as separate courses in this program, but their interrelationship is inescapable. Students will select one from several ethical dilemmas presented and opine about the situation from a purely legal perspective. The result will be an analysis that acknowledges the ethical challenge (completion of the Ethics course is not necessary) but looks at the legal issues raised in the scenario. You will need to do research, as the legal questions raised are challenging. In other words, ethics looks at whether something “should” be done; the legal question is whether it “can” be done. Here, those are two different analyses that ultimately be considered together. The result will be a two to three-page paper (double-spaced) that raises (and addresses to the extent possible) the pertinent legal questions for consideration. At least three peer-reviewed sources should be cited. Note that you are not expected to arrive at “the answer;” rather, the goal is identify and analyze the challenges of being legally compliant while observing ethical behavior. Your analysis (500 words) should rely upon at least three peer-reviewed sources.
Select one of the following scenarios for your analysis:
1. Your hospital has been selected to take part in a trial for a promising drug to treat a rare and fatal form of colon cancer. In initial trials, the 12-month morbidity rate declined by 80% for those receiving the drug. Quite coincidentally. your mother has developed this same form of cancer and has entered the trial at your hospital. Through a conversation with the clinical director for the trial, you learn that your mother has been placed in the control group. Given the progress of your mother’s cancer, you know that this is almost certainly a death sentence for her. Of course, your mother does not know this. Indeed, in your daily visits with her, her condition appears to improve, probably because of a placebo effect. She speaks glowingly of the miracle treatment that she believes she is receiving and thanks you for getting her in the trial. What can you do? What should you do? What will you do?
2. Your Director of Pathology comes to you with an idea for a great new revenue stream for your hospital. She wants to harvest tissue from aborted fetuses for sale to medical research labs. In fact, she has lined up a lucrative contract that should help pull the hospital out of a current cash crunch. Key to the agreement is a provision that precludes notification to the parent(s) of the fetus and by which your hospital confirms its ownership. Will you do this? What difference does it make regarding the notification? What will you tell your Board to sell this project?
3. Your facility has contracted with an independent group of Emergency Room doctors to provide emergent care and a separate group of Radiologists to provide imaging services and a separate group of pathologists to provide lab services. That means that patients coming through your ER will receive a bill for you regarding use of the facility, but separate bill for emergent care, radiology and pathology. Thus, there are four different billing sources. Other than Medicare, there is no common insurance provider between the four. You are about to preside over a Board meeting that will decide the process to be followed when a patient enters the ER. Must a patient be informed of the differing groups providing care? Must a patient be informed of differing insurance requirements? If requested, will your facility provide billing services for the other groups? Besides the legal requirement(s), is there a business/economic concern here that should be considered?