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Nursing Essay Example on Angel of Death



Abstract

In health care provision, maintaining patient’s well-being is essential, especially in the field of nursing. It therefore requires hospital institutions and health care professionals to continuously adhere to the code of ethics in order not to attach importance to their desire for seniority or to be recognized as a hero, but to care for patient’s well-being. In this regard, this paper discusses ethical and legal values associated with Richard Angelo case, and how such incident can be prevented in the future.

Keywords: code of ethics, professionals, nurses, issues

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Angel of Death: Richard Angelo Case

Richard Angelo’s background of doing good things for people, especially when he was “a former Eagle Scout and volunteer fireman, formed the out-of-control desire of being recognized as a hero” (Ford, 2008). It came out when he worked for the Good Samaritan Hospital, Long Island, located in New York (Montaldo, 2009). In his heroic quest, he came up with a plan of injecting patients with the drug named Pavulon that was a cause of their near-death experiences. Then he showed his heroic capability by saving the victims. However, it is noted that out of thirty-seven patients, only twelve lived to talk about it (Montaldo, 2009). According to Pozgar (2012), even though Angelo was convicted to sixty-one years of imprisonment in the long run, his case raised some ethical and legal issues.

The case of Angelo violates the code of ethics, pursuant to which nurses or health professionals are entitled to carry out their duties in a responsible manner, that is, consistent with the quality of health care provision and ethical obligations required from healthcare professionals. Understanding and considering ethical issues is important to help nurses or health care professionals in forming their values in order to avoid ethical conflicts (Baylis & Downie, 2006). It is important in fostering nurse-client relationships. In Angelo’s case, the ethical concern emanates when he faces the ethical uncertainty of being unsure of what values he should have in treating patients. This ethical problem was caused by the fact that Angelo knew how to treat patients, but because of his desire to be recognized as a hero, he ends up as a wrongdoer.

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For instance, Angelo was not even swayed by his inability to keep his victims alive to continuously inject patients with paralyzing drugs, such as Pavulin and Anectine with the intent to make them feel better (Montaldo, 2009). It raises concerns whether patients’ human rights are usually subject to health professionals. However, these were not only Angelo’s ethical values that were of concern in this case, but also the ones of the institution.

In a similar case, such scholars as Steve Ford have constantly posed concern that such institutions as Leeds Teaching Hospitals could not stop nurse Collin Norris convicted of murdering orthopedic patients (Ford, 2008). In this case, he killed his patients by injecting them insulin. If healthcare institutions similar to the Long Island Hospital could have incorporated and regularly implemented the code of ethics among health professionals, such incidents might have not happened.

On the other hand, the legal issue in the case of Angelo made him, but not the institution, be sentenced after committing a number of murders. However, lawyers continuously proved that his actions were a result of him suffering from dissociative identity disorder (Montaldo, 2009). It means that Angelo was not aware of actions or even did not realize to what risks patients were subjected. However, this did not undermine his sentencing. This action was essential in trying to make health professionals become more responsible and adhere to the code of ethics while performing their work.

Any hospital can take various steps in preventing such events. First, it must make health care professionals know that ethical situations are part of their job. In this case, institutions should ensure that client’s well-being is promoted, and he or she is secured from harm, especially by monitoring each patient handled by a nurse or doctor. Secondly, hospitals must ensure that each health care professional or practitioner adequately follows client’s wishes according to the law and the standards of practice. It can be achieved through maintaining commitment among nurses, where respectable behavior and contribution are acknowledged by institutions and shared among practitioners.

Conclusion

In conclusion, it is imperative for health care institutions and professionals to maintain ethical values and standards in order to improve patient’s well-being. Any divergent action taken by a health care professional, like in the case of Richard Angelo, can result into adverse consequences. Hospitals must ensure that all nurses or doctors adhere to nursing standards and actively take legal actions in resolving such cases.

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