Ethical Theories And Principles

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The project assignment provides a forum for analyzing and evaluating relevant topics of this week on the basis of the course competencies covered.


In each week, you will have the opportunity to explore an ethical theory—consequential ethics, utilitarian ethics, deontological ethics, and nonconsequential ethics—in the context of a case scenario from your textbook. In this week, the focus will be on deontological ethics. Remember from your Week 1 lectures that nonconsequential ethics suggests that the assessment of right or wrong must be based on the action and not the consequences.


Review the following case:

Chelsea was preparing to drape Mr. Smith’s leg in OR 6 for surgery when she was approached by Nicole, the nurse manager. Nicole asked, “Chelsea, please come to OR 3. We have an emergency there and urgently need your skills to assist the surgeon.” Chelsea turned to Daniel, the surgical technician, and asked him to continue prepping Mr. Smith’s leg for surgery. Daniel prepped the leg prior to the surgeon entering the room. The surgeon entered the room a few minutes later and asked, “Where is Chelsea?” Daniel replied, “She was called away for an emergency in OR 3. Karen will be shortly in to assist us.”

Following the surgery, Mr. Smith was transferred to the recovery room. While he was in the recovery room, a nurse was looking at the patient’s medical record as to the notes regarding the patient’s procedure during surgery. She noticed that the surgery was conducted on the wrong leg.

Although there was a heated discussion between the surgeon and the nursing staff, each member of the staff had good intentions, but the outcome was not so good. Nonconsequentialists believe that right or wrong depends on the intention. They generally focus more on deeds and whether those deeds are good or bad. In this case, the intentions were good but the outcome was bad. It should be noted that nonconsequentialists do not always ignore the consequences. They accept the fact that sometimes good intentions can lead to bad outcomes. In summary, nonconsequentialists focus more on character as to whether someone is a good person or not. Nonconsequentialists believe that right or wrong depends on the intention. Generally, the consequentialist will focus more on outcomes as to whether they are good or bad.

In a 2- to 3-page document, complete the following tasks:

  • Describe how the nonconsequential theory of ethics applies in this case.
  • Posit what questions a consequentialist might raise after reviewing the facts of this case and why.

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