The four quadrant approach to an ethical dilemma

Topics: Decision theory, Parent, Decision making Pages: 3 (1048 words) Published: May 2, 2015
The four quadrant approach to an ethical dilemma.

There are many ethical decisions that a nurse will encounter throughout their practice. Therefore, it is very important for a nurse to identify an ethical decision making model that best suits them. This will prove to be a vital tool in the, “heat of the battle.” The internal moral/ethical battle that lies within. The purpose of this paper is to evaluate a case study utilizing one of these ethical decision-making models. In this scenario involving a six-year-old, who has just been diagnosed with meningitis will be reviewed. In this scenario, the physician is requesting permission to treat from the parents. However, the child’s parents are divorced. The non- biological mother has primary custody of the child. She is a Christian scientist and insists on not continuing treatment for the child. The biological father, is in a different state, and insist that his child be treated. One such decision-making model that is widely used by medical professionals is the Four Quadrants approach. For the purposes of this essay, this model will be utilized in finding a resolution to this dilemma. The ethical dilemma

The dilemma is that this child requires medical treatment. However, the parents are split and have conflicting views on treatment options. The non- biological mother with primary care, refuses treatment for religious reasons. The biological father, living in a different state, is requesting treatment. How can this situation be resolved? The Four Quadrant Approach.

In order to aid the provider in this decision, it is beneficial to utilize the Four Quadrant Approach. This model is useful in that it, “helps to highlight areas of controversy and to clarify the principles underlying the circumstances of a clinical ethics case” (Schumann & Alfandre, 2008 Pg 42). In this model, there are four broad topics: medical indications, patient preferences, quality of life, and contextual features. Each of these topics,...

References: Schumann, J., & Alfandre, D. (2008). Clinical ethical decision making: the four topics approach. Hospital Physician, 44(12), 42-48.
Sokol, D. (2008). The "four quadrants" approach to clinical ethics case analysis; an application and review. Journal Of Medical Ethics, 34(7), 513-516.
The Royal Children’s Hospital Melbourne. (2010). Kids Health Info: Meningitis. (2010). Retrieved from
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