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Running Head: THE TRIAGE PROCESS AND ETHICAL DILEMMAS 1The Triage Process and Ethical DilemmasShannon BranchCapella UniversityPolicy, Law, Ethics, and RegulationsMoral and Ethical DecisionsSeptember, 2019
THE TRIAGE PROCESS AND ETHICAL DILEMMAS2IntroductionWe have gathered here in order to review and address an incident that happened at a fellow hospital nearby. There was an industrial accident a couple of days ago. Two patients ended up goingto the emergency room for inhalation injuries. They differed in age, socioeconomic backgrounds, and health insurance status. This hospital received a lot of criticism regarding the treatment of these patients, as they should have been treated equally. The younger patient was rarely in the hospital, had insurance, and was a contributing member of society. He ended up taking precedence. The elderly man was a “Frequent flyer” with a history of complaints of asthma. He was homeless, uninsured, and did not have equal access to medical care. With having frequent hospitalizations for asthma, his complaints were not taken seriously. During this discussion, we will address: Disparitiesin healthcare access, policies and protocols, and ethical dilemmas. We will also discuss an evidence-based strategy that can be used in order to provide the best possible care in an equal and fair manner. Health Care Disparities“Research has revealed the existence of insurance-based discrimination in health care” (Han, Call, Pintor, Alarcon-Espinoza, & Simon, 2015). Uncertainties physicians have when treating uninsured or underinsured patients revolve around ability to pay and the decreased reimbursement that occurs with Medicaid. Physicians may refuse care for a patient, leading to problems obtaining: dental care, medications, wellness check-ups, mental healthcare, or care from a specialist (Han et al., 2015). This is very important to make note of, because it inevitably results in unnecessary frequent visits to the ED. “Sociodemographic characteristics are predictors of nonurgent use of emergency department” (Aacharya, Gastmans, & Denier, 2011).
THE TRIAGE PROCESS AND ETHICAL DILEMMAS3For example, think the patient with asthma. Typically, treatment includes long-term and short-acting medications. However, due to being homeless, not insured, and not having a job, they are