Ethical and Legal Framework to Valentina Dawson
Valentina Dawson is a 35 year old woman living in Brisbane. Her husband passed away six months ago. Ms Dawson is a devout Jehovah’s Witness and has practised her faith for over fifteen years. She was recently admitted to a Brisbane public hospital for delivery of her first child and, on admission, Ms Dawson signed a consent form which documented her consent to operative treatments and the use of anaesthetic. RN Kamal Singh was working on the ward when Ms Dawson was admitted. Ms Dawson explained to RN Singh that she was a practising Jehovah’s Witness and that she was opposed to the use of all blood products for medical purposes. Ms Dawson’s brother, Carlos, accompanied her to the hospital. In the discussion with RN Singh, Ms Dawson indicated that she and her brother were very close but that she was not in contact with her sister Marina anymore after they had a disagreement about her religious beliefs a number of years earlier, and that she no longer shares any information with “that side of the family”. RN Singh documented these discussions in the patient’s clinical file.
After some complications, Ms Dawson’s baby was delivered safely but an emergency hysterectomy needed to be performed. Ms Dawson is now unconscious and has suffered blood loss. Dr Grace Petrova has advised Carlos that blood products will need to be administered urgently otherwise Ms Dawson will die. Carlos is distraught but has told Dr Petrova that their beliefs do not permit transfusions and that his sister Valentina is opposed to the use of blood products “under all circumstances”.
Valentina’s sister, Marina, has been informed by a mutual friend that Valentina has been hospitalised and is in a serious condition, and Marina has just phoned the hospital seeking an update on her sister’s condition.
Apply the ethical and legal decision-making framework to the scenario.