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Hcs 430 Week One

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Health Care Legal Case

HCS 430

April 17, 2012

Health Care Legal Case

There are many current legal issues surrounding health care in the United States. The primary one that is taking most people’s interests is the legalities of the Health Care Reform Act; however, I want to concentrate on an issue that is very controversial and sensitive for many, forced or involuntary hospitalizations. Involuntary hospitalizations are a common occurrence in the United States among mentally unstable individuals and also in a unique case, a pregnant female. Many states have laws which make it possible for people with mental illnesses to be involuntarily hospitalized when they could appear to be a threat to themselves or others around them. This might seem like it makes sense to keep people from harming themselves or others but what about keeping a pregnant woman hospitalized, against her will, and to keep her from seeking medical treatment elsewhere? Should that situation be legal and is it ethical? Samantha Burton was confined against her will for three day in a Florida hospital where she walked in on her own due to concerns with premature labor as she was in her 25th week of pregnancy (James, 2010). Burton was kept against her will by a court order which the physician she went to see obtained once there was knowledge that Burton was unwilling to be hospitalized for months as she has other children and also because she wanted to seek another opinion(James, 2010). Sadly, Samantha Burton miscarried and had to deliver a stillborn child by cesarean three days after being forced to remain hospitalized. There are many issues with this case as Samantha Burton was not given alternatives to care and encountered a physician opinion being forced upon her as she willingly walked into a hospital for care. With these many issues there are many questions which arise, such as: Is it right to force health care treatment on someone? Is it right to take away a patients’ right to seek care with another provider? Is it right to not offer other options for treatment to a patient? Samantha Burton did not think it was right and sought legal action against the state of Florida. Samantha Burton is not the only instance in which pregnant females have been involuntarily hospitalized. There was a case in Pennsylvania where a mother was forced to be hospitalized when she refused a cesarean to deliver a baby with large birth weight, which she fled the hospital only to deliver vaginally, a healthy baby boy. In this case one can argue is the first medical opinion always right? Would Samantha Burton’s outcome turned out differently if she would not have been forced to stay at the hospital and would have been allowed to seek another opinion? One will not know but there can be evaluation into what the judicial system ruled and how legalities in these situations play into health care treatment, safety, and quality. In Samantha Burton’s case there seems to be a strong opinion base coming into play with what her physician at the time, not her regular treating obstetrician, thought about what she should be doing for her and her baby. However, this situation raises a question was this physician and the judge taking a stand against Burton because of underlying issues or is this how they would treat every pregnant patient who came in with a pregnancy concern. If that were the case the specific physician would have every woman who comes in under lengthy hospitalizations, which does not function well with what many patients have in their own pregnancy and birthing plans. Not to mention, this type of action appears to be extreme and in the end can cost the provider, the hospital, the patient, and the tax payers a lot of money. After extensive review and thought the State of Florida rules in favor of Samantha Burton, and for the right for pregnant woman to make their own medical choices. Diane Kasdan, attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), made the statement that women do not give up their own personal right to choose their own medical options once they become pregnant (ACLU, 2010). This statement alone indicates such a law as the providers having the right to involuntarily hospitalize pregnant women would go against medical ethics, would not function with the health care system of the United States, and would go against medical goals all over our society. There is a definite concern for the fetus’s health in many cases but completely disregarding a mother’s wish is not the route to take.

References

American Civil Liberties Union. (2010). Florida Court Upholds Right Of Pregnant Woman To Determine Medical Care. Retrieved from http://www.aclu.org/reproductive-freedom/

Donaldson James, S. (2010). Pregnant Woman Fights Court-Ordered Bed Rest. Retrieved from http://abcnews.go.com/Health/florida-court-orders-pregnant-woman-bed-rest- medical/story?id=9561460…...

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