Applying Ethical Principles

Applying Ethical Principles

Raquel Genaro

Capella University

NHS4000: Developing a Health Care Perspective

Jessica McCarthyNovember 2021

Applying Ethical Principles

Individuals within the healthcare profession often face ethical dilemmas within

their daily practice.

People within the health care profession often face ethical dilemmas, especially now a days with internet and resources everywhere. Many years ago, when internet did not exist, people were more like to believe and understand their healthcare providers. Despite the evolution of resources and internet, ethical, principles and values still need to apply for every individual by following the ethical principles.

Overview of the Case Study

After reading all the cases I chose to overview the incident #10 to vaccinate or not. Understandably, the Smiths parents after had done many research regarding or not vaccinate their newborn baby, they chose not to. The reason they chose not to vaccinate their newborn is because according with the Smith’s research, potentially vaccines may have caused autism in many children, and harm their health.

Dr Kerr, pediatrician, listen to the parents concern carefully and understand the concern that has brought to their attention. Dr Kerr explain and advise the parents the benefit of getting children vaccinate. Dr Kerr also stated that there are many diseases that mortality of children has decreased due the vaccines such as, Haemophiles influenzae type b, and measles.

Also, the doctor respectfully shares some resource with the parents and reinforce to them that vaccines are safe for children.

Finally, Dr Keer tries to explain to the Smith’s family that some children are not eligible to get vaccine due their weak immune system, such as cancer and genetics. Other children are too young to get certain vaccines, but thankfully the kids that are vaccinated can protect those that cannot be vaccinated. This epidemiological concept is known as “herd immunity.” Consequently, puts vulnerable children at significant risk of morbidity and mortality.

Last, Dr Kerr educated the parents that most states require vaccinations before children can attend school. The parents understand the doctor’s recommendation but restate they are not going to vaccinate their newborn.

Analysis of Ethical Issues in the Case Study

In the case study, the main factor is that the Smith’s family have decided not to get the newborn vaccinated. After the Dr Kerr explained the risks and benefit of getting the family vaccinated, it is also important to reinforce to the parents that “mom’s blog” and certain websites are not safe resources and does not replace many years of medical school.

Vaccines are responsible for many global public health successes, such as the eradication of smallpox and significant reductions in other serious infections like polio and measles. Even so, vaccinations have also long been the subject of various ethical controversies. The key ethical debates related to vaccine regulation, development, and use generally revolve around (1) mandates, (2) research and testing, (3) informed consent, and (4) access disparities. According to pub med, Parental refusal of vaccines is a growing a concern for the increased occurrence of vaccine preventable diseases in children. Several studies have investigated the reasons that parents refuse, delay, or are hesitant to vaccinate their child(ren). These reasons vary widely between parents, but they can be encompassed in 4 overarching categories. The 4 categories are religious reasons, personal beliefs or philosophical reasons, safety concerns, and a desire for more information from healthcare providers. Parental concerns about vaccines in each category lead to a wide spectrum of decisions varying from parents completely refusing all vaccinations to only delaying vaccinations so that they are more spread out. A large subset of parents admits to having concerns and questions about childhood vaccinations. For this reason, it can be helpful for pharmacists and other healthcare providers to understand the cited reasons for hesitancy, so they are better prepared to educate their patients’ families. Education is a key player in equipping parents with the necessary information so that they can make responsible immunization decisions for their children.

Using the Ethical Decision-Making Model to Analyze the Case Study

Using the Ethical Decision-Making Model to Analyze the Case Study we can come with a conclusion that can help the parents make a comfortable decision. Ethics in the workplace is defined as the moral code that guides the behavior of employees towards the patient with respect to what is right and wrong regarding conduct and decision making. Dr Kerr did a very good job explaining the benefits of getting the newborn vaccinated.

Can Dr Kerr dismiss the Smith’s family from her practice if the parents follow the decision of not getting the newborn vaccinated? Arguments for dismissing families include that vaccination is the standard of care and the benefits far outweigh the risks. The evidence for vaccines is so strong that doctors may feel they just can’t work with parents who stray so far from the standards of medical care. Another argument for dismissing families is that doing so may increase vaccine rates when parents see that pediatric practices feel so strongly about vaccines. Some of the downsides are that kids might end up without a medical home.

Effectiveness of Communication Approaches in the Case Study

The importance of good communication between health professionals and patients has been well documented. Dr Kerr explained to the Smith’s family the concerns for not getting the newborn baby vaccinated. Reinforce and educate the family members without overstepping the family decision is also very important because maybe right now the parents are denying the vaccine, but maybe in the future they can reconsider their believes and accept the baby to be vaccinated. Open communication without judging or making the new parents feel like they are doing something wrong is also important and supportive.

Resolving the Ethical Dilemma by Applying Ethical Principles

There are 4 basic ethical principles including autonomy, beneficence, nonmaleficence and justice. The ethical dilemma in the case study is caused by a conflict between the principles of autonomy on the one hand and nonmaleficence on the other. The Smith’s family have the right to make the decision for their newborn to not vaccinate her. Dr Kerr showed Dr. Kerr shows autonomy by respecting the parent’s decision and by presenting the parent’s research on safety of vaccines. Dr Kerr was trying to explain to the parents that vaccines can protect the baby from potentially fatal diseases. Although the parents have rejected to vaccinate their daughter, there will be more opportunities for Dr. Kerr to inform the parents of the importance of vaccinations and the parents feel more comfortable with the doctor and the information given.


Dr. Kerr delivered her best to inform the parents to have the right to decide for their child. She did her best to educate the family about the benefits of vaccines without judging the parents. Finally, Dr. Kerr’s ethical dilemma, the current approach involves adhering to the principles of autonomy, beneficence, and nonmaleficence. The proposed solution will always be professional helping the parents because it has boundaries and provides mutual respect for all parties.

Reference: 2021. Ethical Issues and Vaccines | History of Vaccines. [online] Available at: <> [Accessed 20 November 2021].

If You Choose Not to Vaccinate Your Child. (2012, March 1). CDC. Retrieved November 20, 2021, from

Why parents refuse immunization? (2020, May 1). Https://Pubmed.Ncbi.Nlm.Nih.Gov/27486715/. Retrieved November 20, 2021, from