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Capella 4000 Assessment 3

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    Capella 4000 Assessment 3

    Capella 4000 Assessment 3 Applying Ethical Principles

    Student Name

    Capella University

    NHS-FPX 4000 Developing a Health Care Perspective

    Prof. Name


    Applying Ethical Principles

    Case Study

    The analysis focuses on “The Missing Needle Protector.” Within this study, E. L. Straight, serving as the director of clinical services at Hopewell Hospital, becomes aware of a potential lapse during a surgical procedure. Dr. Cutrite, a surgeon whose skills have waned over the years, may have unintentionally left a plastic needle protector inside a patient named Mrs. Jameson. Despite being aware, Dr. Cutrite opts against informing the patient, assuming the item will cause no harm.

    The central ethical dilemma is whether the hospital should prioritize patient safety by informing Mrs. Jameson and possibly recommending another surgery or keep silent, adhering to Dr. Cutrite’s stance and safeguarding the hospital’s reputation. Those directly embroiled in this ethical quandary include Mrs. Jameson, Dr. Cutrite, E. L. Straight, the operating room supervisor, and the scrub nurse, with the broader reputation of Hopewell Hospital also at stake (Capella University, 2023). 

    Analysis of Contributing Factors

    Some of the contributing factors for the case mentioned above study leading to the ethical dilemma are:

    1. Dr. Cutrite’s Declining Clinical Abilities: One of the main factors contributing to the ethical dilemma was Dr. Cutrite’s diminishing clinical competencies. As professionals age, their skills can sometimes decline, leading to potential oversights. Such reduced capacities could result in errors during surgeries. A study by (Giovanni et al. et al., 2023) supports this observation, noting that senior medical professionals may need help with their vast experience due to declining capabilities. This suggests the importance of regular assessments and training to ensure patient safety.
    2. Procedural Lapses in Count and Record-Keeping: Another significant factor was the procedural gap in the post-surgery reconciliation process. The error was recognized at the end of the week, indicating a delay in detecting discrepancies. Timely and efficient procedural checks are critical in surgeries to prevent such oversights. The article states that immediate postoperative reconciliations are pivotal in averting medical errors. The study emphasizes the significance of real-time checks and balances, underscoring the potential risks of delayed reconciliations (Sakakushev, 2023).
    3. Power Dynamics: Dr. Cutrite’s influence within the hospital further complicates the issue. This dynamic discourages staff from challenging or questioning their decisions, even when patient safety might be at stake. An article delineates the complexities introduced by power dynamics in medical settings. The research indicates that unchecked authority can sometimes lead to decision-making that might not prioritize the patient’s best interests, underscoring the need for transparent and collective decision-making in healthcare settings (Shawahna, 2020).

    Effectiveness of Communication Approaches

    Several effective and ineffective communication approaches emerge in the case study. E. L. Straight, the director of clinical services, exemplifies commendable communication skills. He swiftly acknowledges the potential issue and seeks the chief of surgery’s expertise, indicating a proactive and collaborative communication approach. Such open and immediate discussions, especially in critical situations, pave the way for effective problem-solving. However, on the other side of the spectrum is Dr. Cutrite’s approach. His outright refusal to address a probable medical oversight and his instruction to the staff to remain silent hinder open communication.

    This suppression risks patient safety and creates an environment where concerns cannot be freely expressed or addressed. Furthermore, the postoperative process’s delay in identifying the oversight reveals an absence of robust communication mechanisms to ensure immediate discrepancies are flagged and discussed. For effective patient care and trust-building, healthcare professionals should adopt proactive communication, promptly disclosing medical errors to patients and fostering a culture where intra-departmental discussions happen promptly and transparently. Such practices expedite problem resolution and strengthen trust among colleagues and patients.

    In contrast, avoid communication approaches that silence concerns or downplay potential risks. The consequences of such ineffective communication can be grave: patient safety can be jeopardized, legal liabilities can increase, and patient’s trust in the healthcare institution can diminish drastically. Effective communication, on the other hand, upholds patient trust, reduces legal risks, and promotes an accountable and transparent work culture (Berry et al., 2020).

    Effectiveness of the Ethical Decision-Making Approach

    The “The Missing Needle Protector” case study highlights a crucial ethical challenge faced by healthcare professionals, analyzed effectively through the lens of the Ethical Decision-Making Model. In this model, the concept of moral awareness is fundamental. E. L. Straight, by recognizing the potential harm that might arise due to the oversight, manifests this awareness. It is the realization that potentially leaving a needle protector inside a patient, Mrs. Jameson, has significant ethical consequences, propelling the professional to contemplate subsequent actions.

    Next, the model touches upon moral judgment. This is the phase of deliberation, weighing potential actions against ethical standards. Straight grapples with a complex choice: Should he prioritize the hospital’s reputation and potential legal ramifications by staying silent, as suggested by Dr. Cutrite? Or should he uphold the core tenet of medical ethics, ensuring the patient’s well-being by informing Mrs. Jameson about the oversight? From the narrative, it is discerned that Straight leans towards the latter, emphasizing patient safety.

    However, the absence of a conclusive action in the case study leaves this judgment open-ended. The final aspect of the model, ethical behavior, emphasizes executing the morally appropriate decision. Ideally, based on the case’s information, the highest ethical action would be to transparently communicate with Mrs. Jameson, placing her well-being above all. However, the narrative needs a resolution, leaving an ambiguity regarding the action finally undertaken Capella University (n.d).

    Capella 4000 Assessment 3

    Now, reflecting on the consequences of adhering to this model, effective ethical approaches, like transparent communication and prioritizing patient welfare, could lead to strengthened patient trust, minimized legal implications, and enhanced institutional reputation. On the contrary, ineffective approaches, like neglecting oversight or suppressing communication, may erode patient trust, amplify legal vulnerabilities, and damage reputations (Kim & Park, 2019). E. L. Straight’s pondering highlights his underlying dedication to patient welfare.

    However, his hesitancy, potentially influenced by Dr. Cutrite’s stance, exemplifies the complexities healthcare professionals often navigate: striking a balance between unwavering ethical commitments and intricate workplace dynamics. This case serves as a potent reminder of the importance of rigorous protocols in medical procedures (Sakakushev, 2023). It underscores the unwavering responsibility healthcare practitioners bear, advocating for transparent communication, especially when faced with potential organizational or personal repercussions. The case becomes a beacon, shedding light on the intricate power dynamics in healthcare and amplifying the call for moral resilience and unwavering dedication to patient welfare.

    Application of Ethical Principles to the Case Study

    Addressing the situation in “The Missing Needle Protector” requires adherence to healthcare’s foundational ethical principles. The cornerstone of these principles is the duty of beneficence, which mandates actions that promote the well-being of patients (Shawahna, 2020). Another guiding principle is the principle of autonomy, which upholds the patient’s right to make informed decisions about their care. Given these, the ethical solution is clear: Hopewell Hospital should promptly and transparently inform Mrs. Jameson about potential oversights. This only reflects her autonomy by giving her the necessary information to decide on her health but also aligns with the principle of beneficence by ensuring her well-being. Any subsequent action, like offering a corrective procedure, should be based on a comprehensive medical evaluation.

    Approaching the situation with transparency and accountability has broader implications beyond the immediate issue. Firstly, it sends a clear message to colleagues across all disciplines about the institution’s unwavering commitment to ethical conduct, strengthening intra-organizational trust. When one professional acts with such integrity, it sets a precedent for others to follow, cultivating a culture where ethics are central to decision-making. Moreover, this approach fosters a conducive environment for collaborative efforts. In an organization where errors are acknowledged and rectified openly, professionals from various disciplines will likely feel more secure and valued.

    They will be more inclined to collaborate, knowing that the institution prioritizes ethical considerations and patient well-being over potential reputational or legal ramifications. In contrast, sidestepping or burying the issue could erode trust, create apprehension among colleagues about the institution’s ethical stance, and impede effective collaboration. Thus, the chosen approach to this ethical dilemma has long-lasting ramifications on organizational dynamics, professional relationships, and the overarching ethos of the healthcare institution (Berry et al., 2020).


    Our analysis of “The Missing Needle Protector” case study delved deep into its ethical dilemma, highlighting the importance of patient safety, transparency, and professional responsibility in healthcare settings. By applying the Ethical Decision-Making Model, we emphasized the significance of moral awareness, judgment, and ethical Behavior. The recommended approach of promptly informing Mrs. Jameson addresses the immediate concern and reinforces an institution’s commitment to ethical principles, fostering trust among colleagues and facilitating interdisciplinary collaboration. In essence, this case underscores the imperative of placing patient well-being at the forefront, the value of transparent communication, and the impact of ethical decisions on organizational culture and collaboration.


    Berry, L. L., Attai, D. J., Scammon, D. L., & Awdish, R. L. A. (2020). When the aims and the ends of health care misalign. Journal of Service Research, 109467052097515.

    Capella University. (2023). Ethical Case Studies. Capella Library Online.

    Capella University (n.d). Ethical Decision Making Model. Capella Library Online. 

    Kim, W.-J., & Park, J.-H. (2019). The effects of debate-based ethics education on nursing students’ moral sensitivity and judgment: A quasi-experimental study. Nurse Education Today, 83, 104200.

    Sakakushev, B. E. (2023). Patient safety and risk Management. Springer International Publishing. 539–567.

    Shawahna, R. (2020). Facilitating ethical, legal, and professional deliberations to resolve dilemmas in daily healthcare practice: A case of the driver with breakthrough seizures. Epilepsy & Behavior, p. 102, 106703.

    Tebala, G. D., Cirocchi, R., Lazzereschi, L., Livingstone, A., & Slack, Z. (2023). Ethical issues in emergency surgery. In Hot Topics in Acute Care Surgery and Trauma. 341-370.

    Capella 4000 Assessment 3