Gallstone Disease: Ethical Essay

Table of Contents

Medical Indications

The patient was a young woman in the 33rd week of pregnancy who had gallstone disease and needed surgical treatment. The medical problem was acute: she was reporting all of the symptoms of the disease. The patient was suffering from strong pain in her hypochondrium and hepatic colic (Lee, Keane, & Pereira, 2015). Apart from that, she could not eat due to constant sickness.

The primary goals of treatment were to alleviate the patient’s pain and maintain the health of her future child. The latter was especially important to her as she had had two miscarriages before that pregnancy.

Medical treatments (especially surgical intervention) are not indicated in case if a patient has other diseases that may exacerbate due to the use of medicaments.

The treatment options which the doctor had to choose from were induced parturition followed by surgical intervention and treatment with the help of medicaments. It was difficult to predict the probabilities of success of the options because the condition of the patient was deteriorating. In general, surgery would be much more effective.

The patient would be benefited if specialists used the first variant but it would be quite difficult to minimize the risks for the baby.

Patient Preferences

The patient was informed about risks and benefits, she gave her consent to be provided with surgical treatment.

The patient was mentally capable, and the consent of other representatives was not needed.

The patient wanted specialists to mitigate the risks for her child but she understood that surgical intervention was critical in her condition.

The woman was not demonstrating the unwillingness to cooperate with specialists.

Quality of Life

It was obvious that the woman had enough chances to return to normal life in a month. The deficits she could experience were connected with the necessity to limit her physical activity and keep to a strict diet (Jessri & Rashidkhani, 2015).

To conclude on inappropriate quality of life, other people have to refer to the basic needs and interests of a patient.

There were no biases related to evaluation.

The patient had relatives using alternative medicine instead of the usual treatment, and doctors needed to reduce the role of their opinion for the woman.

Changes in treatment plans were not needed as the patient was recovering quite fast.

Life-sustaining treatment (except for the diet) was unnecessary due to favorable evolution after the treatment.

Suicide is legal although this act is of ethical significance; the patient had no suicidal tendencies.

Contextual Features

Conflicts of interests among professionals were very unlikely in that situation. Woman’s relatives had a negative opinion on surgical intervention but they did not try to interfere with the process.

Confidential information related to patients needs to be protected from third parties; nevertheless, it can be retrieved for legal purposes.

Financial disagreements were not peculiar to the case.

Clinical decisions could be affected by the shortage of a particular drug.

The patient and her husband were non-believers which excluded additional problems.

Specialists were following NPA and other codes which minimized the risk of legal problems.

The decisions were affected by the patient’s inability to follow the recommendations during the postoperative period due to the lack of education.

No public health issues were identified.

The patient attends an annual medical examination in one hospital and there are no professional conflicts.


In the end, the proposed process can be regarded as a useful tool as it provides a specialist with an opportunity to systematize the information. As for me, decision-making becomes less complicated due to the use of these principles, and that is why the model can be applied on a regular basis.


Jessri, M., & Rashidkhani, B. (2015). Dietary patterns and risk of gallbladder disease: A hospital-based case-control study in adult women. Journal of Health, Population, and Nutrition, 33(1), 39.

Lee, J. Y., Keane, M. G., & Pereira, S. (2015). Diagnosis and treatment of gallstone disease. The Practitioner, 259(1783), 15-19.

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