Legal Issues and Their Solutions

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Table of Contents

  • Introduction
  • Ethical and Legal
  • Legal and Ethical situation
  • Relevant Areas of Law
  • Legal Action
  • Court Issues Judgement
  • Conclusion


Legal and Ethical issues in nursing occur conventionally. Nurses should rather much keep an eye on its patients and understand what is going on in their patient’s rooms at all times. From constantly checking up on them to asking them questions, will contain satisfactory results. Documentation and professional conduct can be a key factor in litigation.

Ethical and Legal

Ethical arises from the ‘moral character’ of the Greek philosophy which defines an individual or action as morally correct,true, reasonable, and truthful. Sometimes the term is used by people who follow their profession’s moral standards. Ethics and legality also go hand in hand, while ethics is more of a personal standard, legal is based on laws that must be obeyed. Legality is established or based on regulations or official or agreed rules.

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Ethical decisions arise periodically for the nurse in a traditional medical setting, and sometimes the nurse can face ethical dilemmas. In comparison, everyday ethical issues may be encountered by the prison nurse. When preparing and delivering safe patient care, the prison nurse makes ethical decisions about care provision, treatment and advocacy for patients. On the other hand, the legal aspects for nursing practice are related to training, state and federal regulations, level of practice and community standards practiced by nurses at a high professional level. The training, certification and nursing curriculum of the nurse offers the structure through which the profession of nurses is required. The training certification and nursing curriculum of the nurse establishes the basis by which the profession of nurses is required. It opens the nurse to litigation if the work of a nurse falls below appropriate standards of care and professionalism.

Legal and Ethical situation

In this situation, William was the temporary guardian of his father-in law, Harold, who was admitted to the hospital for treatment, presumably due to malnutrition. Harold has been put on feeding tubes. William wanted to use a ballpoint pen to puncture the hanging plastic food bag during a meeting with his father-in law, so that the infusion would run quicker. The nurse attending Harold came to a conclusion as to what had occurred, she immediately told the head manager. The nursing supervisor spoke to William directly and reported what was addressed in Harold’s medical record. The documentation included the following:

  1. When the nursing supervisor approached William, two women were “scratching his head as if [he] were a dog and he was kicking his legs and giggling.”
  2. “The nursing supervisor introduced himself and asked if William was “interrupting the administration of the tube feeding.”
  3. “William responded with a smile and said he “was a physician” with a “type-A personality,” that he “thought it wasn’t going fast enough,” that he thought “there was a vacuum within the bottle so he punctured it and then all of the fluid started to come out.” The nursing supervisor told William that his conduct was unethical, and he agreed that it was and said he was not going to do it again. He was instructed to call the nursing staff in the future if he had questions about the feeding tube and he said he was going to do so. William then wondered whether Harold’s malnutrition could increase the rate of the feeding tube. Three days later, William called the hospital pharmacy and spoke to one of the pharmacists about Harold’s ‘accuracy of the forced feedings being given.’ The pharmacist had to contact the department of the diet but did not. A hearing was held some days later to decide that Harold was still in need of a guardian. It was decided by the Iowa District Court that Harold did not want a guardian; the involuntary guardianship was revoked, and William was dismissed.William also filed a lawsuit for the Northern District of Iowa against the hospital at the U.S. District Court, claiming defamation of character, breach of contract, injurious contract infringement, and privacy invasion.A Petition for Summary Judgment was brought by the hospital arguing that there were no real issues of fact or evidence in the case and therefore the patient was entitled to rule as a legal matter. In this specific case, ethical egoism was used to demonstrate how William acted with the mindset of running for his own self-interest. Ethical egoism is the view that people should seek their own self-interest, and no one has any requirement to support the desires of anyone else. So, it’s a narrow or moral theory, it’s about how people should behave. Another ethical theory pertaining for this specific case is categorical imperative. This is when someone like William, acted towards what acceptable him and he did not avoid one sided benefit.

Relevant Areas of Law

This case relates to many areas of law such as, defamatory, breach of contract, and Injurious interference with contract. Defamation is a false statement that is portrayed as a fact that causes injury or harm to the character of the person involved. An example was when the nursing supervisor falsely documented William’s conversations and actions in the medical record causing harm to his integrity and his persona, it is defamation. A defamation lawsuit can be filed by the individual whose image is hurt by the false statement. Breach of contract takes place in the absence of any written or oral provision of a contract, without a legitimate legal justification. In this case, the pharmacist breached an oral contract to contact the dietary department about his concerns. Contract violation is one of the most common causes for lawsuits for damages and/or specific quality’ of the contract ordered by the court. Injurious interference with contract is when a person pressures or causes someone to violate a contract with a third party. This can happen in many ways, someone could pay below market prices to encourage a breach, bribe or force someone to breach a contract, or make it impossible for the other party to comply and receive the benefits of the contract. On that same note, William had a contract with the Iowa District Court and the hospital interfered with the arrangement by approaching the court ex parte (without him understanding or being present).

Legal Action

William then filed a lawsuit for the Northern District of Iowa against the hospital at the U.S. District Court, claiming defamation of character, breach of contract, injurious contract infringement, and privacy invasion. Just three claims persisted after several legal filings, in the medical record, the nursing supervisor wrongly reported his interactions and behavior, ‘defaming him and putting him into a false light.’, the pharmacist violated an oral contract to inform the dietary office about his issues, and he experienced injurious business interference. The hospital filed a Motion for Summary Judgment stating there was no material issue of fact or facts in the lawsuit and, therefore, the hospital was entitled to judgment as a matter of law. William said that he put it in his capacity as the guardian of Harold in his breach of contract. Nevertheless, there was no evidence presented by the court that he behaved in any role other than a family member involved. As a result, as a matter of law, this argument fails.

Court Issues Judgement

He had an agreement with the Iowa District Court and the hospital intervened with the contract by interacting with the court ex parte because he was a guardian of Harold. This ex parte correspondence indicated that the court denied his request for Harold to be transferred to another hospital. Nonetheless, as addressed by the judge, such an argument (assuming there was a contract) involves damage to the party due to the intervention of the other party. William’s only statement was “events heavily weighed on his chest.’ As a matter of law, the court held the argument must also fail.


This case highlights the important principle that a lawsuit can be brought by the judicial system for everyone. Before a complaint is filed, there is no fixed examination of the evidence of a lawsuit. The case further illustrates another rule of the law, in order to obtain a judgment in his favor one must be able to prove one’s claim. It is also difficult to underestimate the importance of the actions of the two nurses. Once William’s nurse was well aware of what William had done, she reported it to her boss immediately. In the course of the intervention the nursing supervisor intervened promptly, acted professionally and reported the case factually and accurately. Clearly, the ground on which the case was determined was this evidence.

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