Type of paper: Essay

Topic: Nursing, Patient, Law, Drugs, Medicine, Ethics, Criminal Justice, Doctor

Pages: 3

Words: 825

Published: 2021/01/25

Jerry has no mandate to offer the prescription to the patient. According to the facts provided, Jerry is a trained medical assistant and a licensed practical nurse (LPN). These two positions do not qualify one to issues prescription drugs to any patient unless directly authorized by a licensed physician. The scope of work for medical assistant is thus limited to technical support activities that are non-invasive to the patient and under the supervisor. The Medical Board of California (2013, p. 35) states that a medical assistant is an unlicensed officer who may administer drugs through injections and offer other technical support under the supervision of a physician. Moreover, a licensed practical nurse would typically work under a registered nurse (RN) and perform duties as assigned by the RN.
However, there are situations that may warrant a medical assistant to refill drugs if directly instructed by a physician. An LPN may do routine refills that do not require changing of the dosages and do not involve regulated drugs. Under such a situation, there must be a well-documented history of the patient that gives reasons and dates of such refills. In the case, Jerry does not meet all these requirements and, therefore, cannot obey the patient’s demands.
The need for valium may not pose a danger as it would be the case with high blood pressure medication. Should the patient have had requested for high blood pressure refills, Jerry would face the dilemma of saving the patient’s life and maintaining work ethics. The work of any medical practitioner is to save lives and thus, it would wrong for Jerry to deny the patient hypertension medication. However, there are various cross-checking that Jerry must ensure before refilling.
Frist, Jerry must confirm from Dr. William the details or the patient and request a direct opinion. Jerry may use the direct contact such as cell phones, or other means of reaching the doctor. Normally, in any hospitals there are ways and mechanisms of reaching doctors for emergency responses. Therefore, at no given time one can claim that the doctor is not reachable.
In the event, that all this is not possible (reaching the doctor), Jerry cannot refill the drugs as it would be against state laws and work ethics. The patient fails to give enough time and take responsibility to ensure that she or he thoroughly prepares for the journey. On the same note, drugs for hypertension are available across the globe. Therefore, anyone with a proper prescription can get refills in the mainstream health care service providers.
According to the Legal Dictionary (n.d), the respondeat superior determines the scope of the interactions between an employer and an employee with emphasis on the legal liability of the employer. In addition, the respondeat superior requires an employee to act only within the scope of his or her work. Anything beyond the scope is, therefore, a personal liability. As noted earlier, Jerry has no mandate to make the refills. Therefore, if Jerry proceeds and makes the refills, without a direct order from Dr. William, and the patient is adversely affected, Jerry cannot get protection under the doctrine of respondeat superior for the refill. Jerry’s actions are outside the scope. The situations under which an LPN can offer prescription drugs are particular, and this is not one of such circumstances.
I would advise Jerry to find means to reach Dr. William for his approval of the prescriptions. In the event that Dr. William is not reachable, Jerry has no other option other than to wait for Dr. William to return to work. The legal liability of doing refills without direct prescriptions are too high for Jerry to do the refill. It is also against the work ethics. Moreover, the patient’s emergency need for the drugs cannot be validated since traveling is rarely an emergency. It is not clear if the patient is under prescriptions or gets some Valium from Dr. William by virtue of their friendship.
Valium is a primary drug for control of anxiety and depression. The drug has a potential for abuse since some patients may routinely use it for non-prescribed purposes. In the case, the patient quotes Dr. William as a friend who usually gives regular refills. From this perspective of friendship, one question arising is whether the patient is on prescription or not. Such poses an ethical dilemma. In addition, Jerry has no information on the patient making a request via phone. There is no data to support the patient’s claims who attempts to justify the claim by appealing to the friendship with Dr. William. Jerry cannot do the refill as that would amount to breaking work ethics and the legal requirements.
On the same note, all medical practitioners ought to know the limits of their work depending on their training and licensing and act only within such limits. The state laws determine who can write prescriptions. Prescription involves among other things, the gender, age, and occupation of the patient. Jerry has no details on the gender, age or even occupation of the patient. Further, Jerry cannot even tell the amount of the dosage that the patient calls small.
The best method to solve the ethical dilemma is to consider the ethical implications of the decision. One may appeal to utilitarianism and Kantian ethics. Kant emphasizes on the goodness without qualification and the duty of the person while Mill’s Utilitarianism emphasizes on the consequences of the action. The circumstances of the patient’s requests and Jerry do not seem to agree with any of the two approaches. Such arises due to the absence of due emergency and believability in the patient’s claim.


The Legal Dictionary. (n.d). Respondeat superior. Retrieved on April 6, 2015 from http://legal- dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/Respondeat+superior.
The Medical Board of California (2013). Guide to the Laws Governing the Practice of Medicine. Retrieved on April 6, 2015 from http://www.mbc.ca.gov/about_us/laws/laws_guide.pdf

Cite this page
Choose cite format:
  • APA
  • MLA
  • Harvard
  • Vancouver
  • Chicago
  • ASA
  • IEEE
  • AMA
WePapers. (2021, January, 25) Ethical Case Study Essay Example. Retrieved June 19, 2024, from https://www.wepapers.com/samples/ethical-case-study-essay-example/
"Ethical Case Study Essay Example." WePapers, 25 Jan. 2021, https://www.wepapers.com/samples/ethical-case-study-essay-example/. Accessed 19 June 2024.
WePapers. 2021. Ethical Case Study Essay Example., viewed June 19 2024, <https://www.wepapers.com/samples/ethical-case-study-essay-example/>
WePapers. Ethical Case Study Essay Example. [Internet]. January 2021. [Accessed June 19, 2024]. Available from: https://www.wepapers.com/samples/ethical-case-study-essay-example/
"Ethical Case Study Essay Example." WePapers, Jan 25, 2021. Accessed June 19, 2024. https://www.wepapers.com/samples/ethical-case-study-essay-example/
WePapers. 2021. "Ethical Case Study Essay Example." Free Essay Examples - WePapers.com. Retrieved June 19, 2024. (https://www.wepapers.com/samples/ethical-case-study-essay-example/).
"Ethical Case Study Essay Example," Free Essay Examples - WePapers.com, 25-Jan-2021. [Online]. Available: https://www.wepapers.com/samples/ethical-case-study-essay-example/. [Accessed: 19-Jun-2024].
Ethical Case Study Essay Example. Free Essay Examples - WePapers.com. https://www.wepapers.com/samples/ethical-case-study-essay-example/. Published Jan 25, 2021. Accessed June 19, 2024.

Share with friends using:

Related Premium Essays
Contact us
Chat now