You be the Ethicist

The Problem

The scenario presents a case in which the religious beliefs of a patient impact on his medication. Family and caregivers have failed to mutually agree on the suitable care plan for the situation, with each party believing that their stand suits the case.

The Process

The most suitable process in this scenario is the initiation of a diplomatic conversation with the family to let them understand the impact of their decision to the patient.

Who is affected?

Based on the scenario, the patient, parents, and caregivers are affected. Tyrell is the patient and therefore any decision made affects his medical condition negatively. It is up to the parents, on the other hand, to ensure good health to Tyrell. In many cases, parents base their decisions on spiritual beliefs, which makes it tough to go against since it would offend them. This though should not be the case for caregivers and judges when the life of a child is at risk. The caregivers should thus find a way to mutually agree with the parents to come up with the right care plan.

Possible Solutions.

Creating a conducive conversation environment would be the ideal solution to such medical challenges. This allows the parties involved to determine the most beneficial treatment plan for the patient, and all. Medical practitioners should present their knowledge and experience in a manner that will accommodate the beliefs of the patients and enhance the creation of a jointly agreed-upon treatment plan.  Additionally, caregivers should make assumptions and share the patient’s experience in order to embrace their beliefs and medical conditions. For instance, assuming the falsity or truth of the beliefs instead of an intellectual judgment that medicine is the best solution.

Ethical Arguments Involved

Many ethical arguments are linked to this scenario. They include;

  1. Respect for the diversity in families and children.
  2. Respecting the uniqueness, dignity and worth of every person.
  3. Understanding that children are best supported and understood in the context of their society, culture and family. In this case, caregivers should appreciate the strong relationship between parents and the child.
  4. Understanding that people accomplish their full potential within trustable and respected relationships.
  5. Professionals should base their work on knowledge of cultural and spiritual beliefs and child development.

Level in which the problem is effectively addressed.

The challenge faced herein should have been effectively addressed by the clinicians. As mentioned earlier, creating a conducive environment to mutually agree with the parents on the best care plan should have been the most effective solution. It can also be effectively addressed by the courts as it can issue temporary or permanent custody when life is endangered (Larcher, et al., 2015). 

Making Policy Decision

Health policy laws are made by the Congress while the daily activities in the formation and implementation of these policies are enforced by agencies like CDC, Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) and Federal Drug Administration (FDA). Gostin (n.d) indicates that it is the right of a patient to make his/her own decision regarding their medical treatment.

Obstacles to Policy Interventions

Various factors hinder clinical policy interventions. These include the availability of medical services and professionals, geographic accessibility of clinical services, affordability and acceptability. In the case described here-in, acceptability is the main factor that has hindered the policy intervention. This has been caused by norms and cultural preferences. 

Available Resources

            To improve health understanding among families and different culture, Social marketing, counselling and provision of consumer information on clinical services, and community involvement should be utilized (Gibson, et al., 2015). This means will empower the community with adequate medical information and thus improving their decision making. Medical practitioners should as well understanding the importance of using their knowledge and expertise in achieving the best medical care for patients.

My Involvement

Understanding the cultural and spiritual beliefs of various communities is essential in order to get involved in such scenarios. This will enhance my chances of building a healthy community. As a nurse, creating a healthy community involves an effective working relationship with patients, and with less knowledge of their spiritual and cultural beliefs, my participation in creating a healthy community will be hindered.


Gibson, O., Lisy, K., Davy, C., Aromataris, E., Kite, E., Lockwood, C., ... & Brown, A. (2015). Enablers and barriers to the implementation of primary health care interventions for Indigenous people with chronic diseases: a systematic review. Implementation Science, 10(1), 71.

GOSTIN, L. (n.d.). The Formulation of Health Policy by the Three Branches of Government | Society's Choices: Social and Ethical Decision Making in Biomedicine. Retrieved from

Larcher, V., Craig, F., Bhogal, K., Wilkinson, D., & Brierley, J. (2015). Making decisions to limit treatment in life-limiting and life-threatening conditions in children: a framework for practice. Archives of disease in childhood, 100(Suppl 2), s1-s23.