The importance of the healthcare sector cannot be understated as far as the overall wellbeing of any society or country is concerned. Indeed, almost every other aspect of any country is dependent on the healthcare sector, particularly considering that only individuals that are sufficiently healthy would be capable of undertaking wealth creating activities. Essentially, governments across the globe make immense investments so as to ensure or safeguard the sustainability and stability of the healthcare sector.
Equally important, however, is the importance of regulations, rules and standards in safeguarding the sustainability of the healthcare sector. It should be noted, nevertheless, that a large proportion of these regulations often get challenged in court. This is especially in cases where the regulations are deemed to run counter to the principles of healthcare provision, particularly with regard to safeguarding the quality and safety of patients. While there may be numerous controversial issues, none seems to elicit more controversy than issues pertaining to LIGHT visitation rights in hospitals. This was the case in Jackson Memorial Hospital.
Summary of the case Janice Language and Lisa Pond were just about to head to a family cruise in Miami when the latter collapsed and had to be rushed to hospital. However, Janice and their three children faced apathy and immense prejudice from the Jackson Memorial Hospital in spite of the fact that Janice had the power of attorney for Lisa. Indeed, the healthcare institution refused to get information pertaining to the medical history of Lisa and informed Janice that her family could not be acknowledged or provided with any information since she was in n antigen state and city (Lambda legal, 2014).
While there existed no medical reason why she should have been prevented from visiting Lisa, she and her family was prohibited from seeing Lisa for over 8 hours. Unfortunately, Lisa died and the prejudice and apathy continued, with the hospital withholding the death certificate from Janice, which prevented her from claiming her social security benefits and life insurance for the children (Lambda legal, 2014). In essence, Janice filed the lawsuit against the healthcare institution on her own behalf, as well as that of her three kids.
One of the major issues that come up in the case is the level of prejudice to which Janice was subjected in the hands of the healthcare staff that was supposed to offer the services without discrimination to the patients on the basis of their gender, race, religion and sexuality among other things. It should be noted that the core values pertaining to healthcare ethics require the healthcare staff to adhere to the four principles of autonomy, beneficence, justice and malefaction. Autonomy or independence revolves around honoring the right of patients to make their decisions, whole maleficent revolves around doing no harm.
Beneficence underlines the requirement that the patient is assisted to advance his own good, while the principle of justice requires all patients to be treated in a similar and fair manner. In essence, it goes without saying that the healthcare institution was acting in violation of the same principles that it is supposed to adhere to in the provision of healthcare services to patients. Of course, it could be argued that the healthcare institution was operating within the established laws of the state and possibly the country at large.
However, it should be noted that the key right of the patient and, in fact, every other citizen in the country is to ensure that no harm IS caused to the patient and that the autonomy and independence of the citizen and patient to make decisions pertaining to his or her life is nonnegotiable. Indeed, scholars have acknowledged that as much as the four principles of healthcare are supposed to be, theoretically, equal, the principle of independence is deemed to take much more priority over others.
The fact that Janice had the power of attorney proved that she should eave been the one making decisions regarding the type of service and treatment that Lisa should have been provided. On the same note, it should be acknowledged that, irrespective of the regulations of the healthcare institution, it should be acknowledged that the physician’s key goal is the restoration of the health of the patient. Indeed, even in instances where the physician is required to respect the law, he or she is supposed to give cognizance to his or her responsibility to seek modifications in the requirements that are detrimental to the patient’s best interests.
This is in line tit the principles of medical ethics, which means that the healthcare staff should have given less consideration to the sexuality of the patient and the laws and concentrate on safeguarding the life of the patient. This means that the inability and refusal of the healthcare staff to take the patient’s history’ from Janice could have jeopardized the quality of healthcare that was provided to the patient in the long-term and the short-term.