Ethical Theories


1. Review the case study below and complete the attached worksheet

2. Outline each of the ethical theories outlined in chapter 1 of your textbook and in the lecture. Give a detailed definition of each ethical theory.

3. How might a person with the perspective of each of the ethical theories address the case study? What will be the important facts, how might the theory help address this concerns

4. Which perspective was the most in alignment with your own perspective? Which theory was the most difficult perspective for you to assume?


Nine-year-old Benton is a patient in the pediatric unit with a diagnosis of terminal-stage Ewing’s sarcoma. He has three sisters, aged 7, 6, and 3, who are presently being cared for by a grandmother. His father is self-employed and works long hours. His mother has never worked outside the home. Both parents have high school educations, and their primary activities outside of the family are church-related. They belong to a small nondenominational rural church and state that they hold fast to what is taught in the Bible and put their faith in tile word of God.

Prior to his illness, Benton, a healthy child, had been brought to the clinic only for acute health concerns. The family does not have health insurance. Shortly after entering second grade 2 years ago, he began limping. The family attributed the limp to a playground injury. When he continued to complain of pain and the limp persisted after 3 months, his mother took him to a local health clinic. Above-the-knee amputation followed diagnosis, but metastasis was evident in 9 months. Chemotherapy has only been palliative.

The physician has discussed Benton’s poor prognosis with the parents, recommending comfort care. The parents say they want everything possible to be done for him, and the father conducts nightly prayer sessions at Benton’s bedside, affirming that God is healing Benton. Although Benton has asked whether he is going to die, his father refuses to allow staff to speak with him regarding fears or concerns about his condition. When asked what Benton has been told, the father responds, “He knows God is trying us and we must have faith,” The mother, who appears less confident of a healing, is there 24 hours a day. She supervises Benton’s care relentlessly, at times irritating staff with questions and demands. She keeps a notebook record of her son’s care, including medication, times of care, intake and output, and personal assessments. Although Benton used to talk to staff, he now appears frightened and remains quiet, sleeping off and on.




Sample Solution