Ethics Case Study

Jerry McCall is an office assistant for Dr. William’s. Jerry has received training as both a medical assistant and Licensed practical nurses (LPN). During the time the receptionist is out to lunch Jerry is covering for her. Jerry is faced with a common problem in the health care field today. Jerry has been asked to call in a refill for Valium to a pharmacy for a patient. This paper will address why Jerry is not qualified to refill any prescription medication. If Jerry is protected if a lawsuit is filled.

Jerry’s decision is a tough one, legal and ethical issues and advice will be provided for Jerry’s use. Jerry has received training as a medical assistant and a LPN and has gained knowledge about prescription drugs. Jerry knows that with his training he is not allowed to refill a prescription medication. Jerry knows that Valium is an addictive drug. Jerry is not allowed to refill this prescription because he is not a medical doctor, dentist, or a psychologist.

Jerry has training for a LPN and knows that no matter what type of medication a patient is asking him to refill he is not allowed to. If there are no more refills on the prescription bottle the only thing Jerry can do in this position is to schedule the patient for an appointment with the physician. The patient is asking for a refill for Valium but could also ask for a refill for high blood pressure medication. If the patient has to call because he or she is out of refills on the prescription bottle needs to renew the prescription which can only be done by a medical doctor.

The doctrine of respondent superior is defined that the employer is liable for the employee’s actions (Farlex, INC, 2011). If a lawsuit is filled Jerry may possibly be protected. The reading did not state if Jerry carried his own malpractice insurance or just relayed on his employer’s insurance. If Jerry does have his own malpractice insurance he would know that his insurance will pay an attorney to represent him before the Board of Nursing (Mackay, 2006). Jerry could have a lawsuit filed on him if he does refill the Valium and possible even if he does not refill it.

Knowing more about the choice Jerry made and what type of malpractice insurance he carried would help to answer the question (if a lawsuit is filed would Jerry be protected? ). For anyone in Jerry’s shoes it is hard to take advice and feel that the outcome would be for the best interest of the organization. Jerry needs to understand that he could lose his job and nursing license. Jerry should explain to the patient that he is not allowed to refill prescription medication and he should explain to the patient that he is also that the aware of the situation that he is flying out of town.

Jerry should tell the patient that by making sure that he or she was prepared for travels ahead of time. After Jerry gets off the phone with the patient, he should go see Dr. Williams and explain to Dr. Williams what happened between the patient and himself. In conclusion if more health care professionals put into practice the concept of non-maleficence which is embodied by the phrase, to “first, do no harm,” or in the Latin, phrase “primum non nocere (McGraw Hill Science and Technology Dictionary2011). If more health care facilities considered non-maleficence to be the main or primary consideration (“to done harm”) taking in consideration that it is more important to protect all patients for their safety and wellbeing instead of enthusiastic practitioners being more prone to using treatments that they believe will do the most good, without first conducting an adequately evaluation on the patient to ensure they do no harm to the patient (McGraw Hill Science and Technology Dictionary2011).

A great deal of has been done to patients as a result of inadequate evaluations. Therefore, it would be more important to do no harm to a patient than it would to do good so, my advice to Jerry would be to tell the patient that he cannot call in the prescription and assure the patient that he will let the physician know of the patient’s needs and the physician can take care of them as soon as possible (McGraw Hill Science and Technology Dictionary2011).

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