January 10th, 2018
Deontology Principle and Its Application to Dr. Do Right’s situation
Deontology ethical theory basis its advancements from Immanuel Kant’s (1724-1804) writings that emphasized that an individual’s actions ought to be based on an universal law. Accordingly, deontology regards the basis for determining whether an act is right or wrong to be the intent behind the act, rather than the consequence following the act (Pieper, 2008). Deontology is thus a non-consequentialist theory, which basis its determination on the intent that one had in performing an act instead of evaluating the outcomes that arise from performance of such an act. In determining the intent of the actor, deontology bases its evaluation on universal principles that determine what is perceived to be morally correct or good (Pieper, 2008).
The principle of deontology is that the ethical nature of the action an individual undertakes lies in the will behind the action. Where such will is good, then the action undertaken is ethical, hence the right action. To determine whether the will or intent was good, deontology advises on the need to evaluate such actions according to their adherence to duty, precept or law. For instance, Kant noted that acting in “good will” is acting out of ones respect for moral law, which is acting “for the sake of duty” (as cited in MacDonald & Beck-Dudley, 1994).
Taking the Deontological perspective, Dr. Do Right’s ethical decision is to report the imprudent practices of the physicians and nurses. This is evident from various perspectives. Firstly, by reporting the imprudent practices that physicians are engaging in, Dr. Do Right will be remaining true to the Hippocratic Oath that healthcare practitioners take, binding them to practice medicine ethically. One of the principles identified by this oath is nonmaleficence, which implies that “above all, do no harm” (Stecher, 2011, p. 85). By failing to report such imprudent decisions by the physicians and nurses, Dr. Do Right would be promoting the harm that such staff metes to the patients. Accordingly, by reporting the imprudent practices, Dr. Do Right is remaining true to the moral law established via the Hippocratic Oath.
Secondly, Dr. Do Right’s action to report the cases is ethically correct, according to the Deontological perspective, since it seeks to halt the unlawful actions by the doctors and nurses. Since the practices that the doctors are engaging in are already proven to be illegal, failure to report such actions would mean that Dr. Do Right is not acting in good will. Accordingly, by reporting the actions of the nurses and doctors, Dr. Do Right would be acting for the sake of the duty owed to him by stakeholders such as patients and the professional bodies to which he is affiliated. Although Dr. Do Right owes the internal stakeholders a duty to maintain a good reputation for the entity, or confidentiality of information he holds, such a duty is nullified by the illegal actions of the physicians who go against the universally set law – not to perform illegal medical practices. Go to part 4 here.