Ethical And Legal Issues In Healthcare

Introduction

The healthcare sector of any country plays a significant role in health promotion and disease prevention. Therefore, it is very important for healthcare professionals and other people belonging to this industry to know the ethical and legal issues that can affect the health and wellbeing of people in the country. Healthcare organizations also need to develop effective strategies for resolving the ethical and legal issues that can affect the health and wellbeing of people. Water fluoridation refers to the process of controlling the level of fluoride in the drinking water in order to prevent tooth decay. During water fluoridation process, different types of fluorides like Sodium fluoride, Hydrofluosillicic acid, and so on. All of the ingredients are fully mixed with the water and cannot be differentiated easily from the water. However, the increase of percentage of fluoride in drinking water might cause health hazards and therefore, it is a burning question that if it is ethical and legal to impose water fluoridation. The main objective of the study is to analyze the relevance and morality of water fluoridation.

Discussion

It has been revealed in studies that if the level of fluoride is optimal in the drinking water, it helps prevent tooth decay and also helps strengthen tooth. However, it has also been revealed in studies that a high levels of fluoride in drinking water might cause dental fluorosis and skeletal fluorosis (Moore et al. 2017). Dental fluorosis can cause tooth decay and can also lead to broken tooth enamel. Black spots on teeth can also result from excess fluoride in the drinking water. On the other hand, skeletal fluorosis can lead to osteoporosis and osteoarthritis, and other types of diseases that affect the strength of bone and reduce bone density. Various essay writer pointed out it is very much important for the water supply companies to make sure that the level of fluoride is controlled properly in the water so that the health of people is not affected (McLaren et al. 2017). According to World Health Organization, the permitted safe level of fluoride in drinking water is 1.5 mg/L (WHO, 2020). However, it has been revealed in studies that the water supply companies often cannot control the levels of fluoride in the drinking water and the level of fluoride is high enough from the permitted amount. As a result of it, a large number of people experience the health hazards caused by the excess of fluoride in drinking water.

On the other hand, the people who consume more water also intake more fluoride and as a result of it, the chances of suffering from skeletal fluorosis and dental fluorosis increases among them. Along with that, the diseases like skeletal fluorosis can reduce the work efficiency and physical strength of people who consume a high amount of fluoride with drinking water. In case, a large number of people in a country become affected by skeletal fluorosis, the economic growth of the country might reduce (Rugg-Gunn et al. 2016).  Excessive intake of fluorides can also cause different other health hazards. It has been revealed in studies that excessive intake of fluorides might lead to change of bone structure and the ligaments of human beings can also calcify because of the excessive intake of fluorides. Along with that, acute exposure to fluorides can result in excessive abdominal pain, excessive saliva, nausea, and vomiting (Gupta and Ayoob, 2016). According to some researchers and medical assignment writer, seizers and muscle spasms can also occur because long term intake of fluorides with drinking water or food (Aoun et al. 2018). Considering the health hazards caused by the excessive intake of fluoride, it can be said that water fluoridation cannot be imposed as mandatory. Therefore, it cannot be denied that water fluoridation have many health benefits and the optimal level of fluorides in water always helps strengthen the tooth enamel and prevents acid attacks and cavities but the excess fluoride on the water can cause significant harm to the body.

The person-centered care approach is followed in the healthcare sectors that want to provide very good quality healthcare services to people. The person-centered care principle focused on providing the best healthcare services considering the best interests of the service users. Along with that, the healthcare providers also need to make sure that the healthcare services are totally safe for the service users (Butts and Rich, 2019). The government of a country also needs to develop strict laws for preventing all activities that can be harmful to the health and wellbeing of people. Considering this fact, it can be said that if water fluoridation becomes mandatory but the level of fluoride in water cannot be controlled, it might affect the health and wellbeing of people and therefore, it also goes against the principle of person-centered care. On the other hand, diseases like dental fluorosis and skeletal fluorosis also can increase the burden of illness in the country (García-Pérez et al. 2017). Therefore, it can be said that imposing water fluoridation cannot be considered ethical and legal. However, in case, the government and the healthcare agencies can take the responsibility to check regularly the fluoride levels in all water supply corporations, it might be easier to control the level of fluoride in the drinking water.

In this process, it also might be easier to reduce the prevalence rate of dental fluorosis and skeletal fluorosis. Apart from this issue, there are a lot of people who do not like the taste and smell of fluoride in the drinking water and they prefer RO and UV treated water for drinking. They also have the right to act as per their best choice and in this case, if water fluoridation is imposed on them, it might be against the principle of person-centered care. From this perspective also it is unethical to impose water fluoridation (American Dental Association, 2018). The morality of imposing water fluoridation can further be evaluated by applying the theories and models of healthcare and ethics. The four main principles of ethics in healthcare are beneficence, nonmaleficence, autonomy, and justice (Schildmann, 2016). The principle of beneficence refers to the obligation of the medical practitioner to protect the service users from all types of health hazards and harms. Along with that, the principle of beneficence focuses on protecting the rights of the patients. As the excessive intake of fluorides can lead to severe health hazards, it can be said that when the medical practitioners ask any patient to drink water having fluorides, it is the responsibility of the medical practitioner to make the service user aware of the health hazards caused by excess fluorides in drinking water. Besides this, the medical practitioner needs to take the consent of the service user before providing fluoridated water for consumption. To know more about water fluoridation, take online assignment help from OmanEssay.

Considering the above fact, it can be said that the imposition of water fluoridation is not supported by the principle of beneficence. According to the principle of non-maleficence, medical practitioners or health service providers cannot harm the service users anyway. Doctors cannot kill or cause pain to the patient for any reason (Stirrat and Woodley, 2018). Therefore, the doctors or health care professionals need to avoid all activities that might affect the freedom of the service users. Following this perspective, it can be said that the imposition of water fluoridation might be harmful to the health of the people, and therefore, the medical professionals who follow this principles cannot ask the patients to have fluoridated water in which the level of fluorides cannot be controlled (Ellis, 2020). Along with that, according to the principle of autonomy, healthcare professionals need to consider the best interests of the service users while providing healthcare services to them. For this reason, it is the responsibility of the healthcare professionals need to take informed consent of the service users before providing them any types of treatment facilities and care.

For example, if the doctor wants to impose water fluoridation considering the benefits of having optimal amount of fluorides in the drinking water, the doctor needs to take the permission of the patient before doing that. In case, the patient feels that it is not safe to drink water with fluorides, the doctors cannot impose fluoridation even if it is beneficial for the patient. In this context, the medical professionals and essay typer can only suggest the patient follow his advice and can make the patient aware about the benefits of his decision. However, imposing anything on the patient is always against the ethical principle of autonomy (Ahmed et al. 2020). Apart from these three principles, the principle of justice also focused on protecting the rights of the patients for safeguarding them from all types of harm and hazards. In case, the levels of fluorides cannot be controlled in drinking water and there is a chance that the excess fluorides in the drinking water can be hazardous for the health of the patient, it will be unethical on the part of the medical professional to impose water fluoridation.

The morality of imposing water fluoridation can further be evaluated by using the theories of ethics. In this context, the theories of utilitarianism and deontological ethics can be applied for analyzing the validity of imposing water fluoridation. According to the theory of utilitarianism, the morality of any act or incident can be analyzed based on the impact of the act on others. In case, the outcomes of a specific act are positive and beneficial for others, then the act can also be considered ethical (de Lazari-Radek and Singer, 2017). However, if the outcomes of the act are negative and harmful for people, then the act cannot be considered ethical (Scarre, 2020). In this particular case, optimal levels of fluorides in drinking water can help to prevent tooth decay and from this perspective, water fluoridation can be called ethical. However, it has also been revealed in studies that the water supply companies often fail to control the levels of fluorides in the drinking water, and therefore, the drinking water often contain a high amount of fluorides and the excess of fluorides in the drinking water can cause different types of health hazards like dental fluorosis, skeletal fluorosis, changes in bone structure, abdominal pain and many other diseases (. Therefore, after the imposition of water fluoridation, if the level of fluorides in the drinking water cannot be controlled strictly, there remain chances that a large number of people can suffer from the health hazards caused by the excessive intake of fluorides.

As in this case, the outcome of the imposition of water fluoridation might be harmful to many people, it can be said that the imposition of water fluoridation cannot be considered ethical. In this context, the theory of deontological ethics can also be applied for judging the relevance of the imposition of water fluoridation. According to the theory of deontological ethics, an act can be considered moral and ethical if it has been committed following specific principles of ethics and existing legislation (McCradden et al. 2020). In the above discussions regarding the ethical principles of healthcare, it has been identified that the act of imposing water fluoridation cannot be supported by the ethical principles of healthcare. Specially, the imposition of water fluoridation goes extremely against the principles of beneficence, nonmaleficence and justice. On the other hand, according to the Health and Social Care act of the United Kingdom, any act that might increase the burden of illness of the country and can lead to many health hazards of people cannot be considered ethical and legal. Get to know more about Health and Social Care act of the United Kingdom from do my assignment experts of OmanEssay

According to this act, healthcare professionals need to value the best interests and individual preferences of service users while providing the healthcare services. Now a large number of people in the UK might not prefer drinking fluoridated water and many of the people do not like the smell and the taste of the fluoridated water. A large number of people are also aware of the negative effects of excessive intake of fluorides with drinking water. Therefore, the imposition of water fluoridation will be considered as an act that does not value the preferences of these people. From this perspective also, it can be said that the imposition of water fluoridation is unethical (Mandal et al. 2016). Therefore, considering all these ethical principles of healthcare, it can be said that it is unethical to impose water fluoridation as there remain chances of health hazards from excess of fluorides in the drinking water. The government agencies that develop standards, rules and regulations for the healthcare sector also need to take necessary initiatives for frequently checking the fluoride levels in the supplied waters. Along with that, if the fluoride level is found high in the water of an area, the community people need to make aware of the fact that the supplied water might be harmful for their health. In this context, the local law enforcing authorities need to take necessary steps to control the level of fluorides in the supplied water. On the other hand, if all these initiatives could not be taken, then it will not be ethical to impose water fluoridation. In this context, the government of the UK can take necessary initiatives for providing better quality health services to people for preventing tooth decay.

Conclusion

The study critically evaluates the relevance of imposing water fluoridation by using relevant theories of healthcare ethics. From the above discussions, it can be concluded that optimal levels of fluorides added in the drinking water can help prevent tooth decay and it also helps strengthen the tooth enamel. However, high levels of fluorides in drinking water and food can lead to different types of health hazards. It has been revealed in studies that the excessive intake of fluorides with drinking water and food can cause different types of health hazards like skeletal fluorosis, dental fluorosis, abdominal pain, change of bone structure and so on. These diseases can increase the burden of illness on the country and therefore, it is unethical to impose water fluoridation if the levels of fluorides in the water cannot be controlled strictly. In this study different theories and models of ethics and healthcare have been applied for critically evaluating the morality of the act of imposing water fluoridation. It has been revealed in the study that the act of imposing water fluoridation cannot be supported by the ethical principles of healthcare. Specially, the imposition of water fluoridation goes extremely against the principles of beneficence, nonmaleficence, and justice. On the other hand, it also cannot be considered ethical from the perspective of utilitarianism and the theory of deontological ethics. The act of imposing water fluoridation also goes against the principle of patient-centered care. Considering all these facts, the UK government has been recommended to take necessary initiatives for frequently checking the fluoride levels in the supplied waters. Along with that, if the fluoride level is found high in the water of an area, the community people need to make aware of the fact that the supplied water might be harmful to their health.

References

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