Medical Jurisprudence

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Besides a happy policy as to civil government, it is necessary to institute a system of law and jurisprudence founded in justice, equity, and public right. (Quote by Ezra Stiles)
About two weeks ago my grandmother fell in her assisted living facility breaking her shoulder and her leg. To someone my age this is not that big of a deal, but when you are 90 years old that is a different story. I began to wonder, how did she really manage to fall? Other questions began to pop in my head such as:
• Why was she sent to the hospital by herself with no one from the assisted living riding along with her in the ambulance?
• Why could they not wait 5 minutes for my mother to get there who works right around the corner?
• Why has no one returned any of the phone calls to my mother who simply wants to know what happened?
Although, they seem to petty questions, wait until it happens to you.
I began to give the matter a great deal of thought, and as she went into the hospital it really started to bother me. Where are people when we need them to be there to support us? Where is the support for people who sometimes can’t mentally or physically care for themselves? I began to really wonder about the other people in society who are constantly in need of care. Children, mentally challenged, and elderly are just a few to start with.
As I began research on the topics, I found many articles in which people were not getting the support that they needed, whether from parents, caregivers, or fellow professionals. To begin with, what is ethics? According to our text, jurisprudence is the study of legal ethics. These ethics include the ethics of power, justice, customs, norms of conduct, civilization, reality, and utility. Lets take it a bit further. What exactly is medical jurisprudence? In my opinion you could define medical jurisprudence as the study of legal ethics in how it pertains to persons receiving, performing, or interpreting anything related to the medical field. This would entail all leagues of medicine including mental, physical, and emotionally health.
At some point in our lifetime we will have to care for someone. Many times it will not be a family member or friend. It may be a stranger. Let’s look at my grandmother. Say that my mother could not have been there for her and she was just delivered to the hospital. What is a 90 years woman suppose to do? I found a great article in NURSING2004, where it explains how come nurses are leading the way in helping others.
The article “CRACKING THE CASE: Your role in FORENSIC NURSING,” outlines they way in which nurses should think as a patient comes into your emergency room or doctors office. The point that forensic means establishing the facts in any legal case was one of the key points in the beginning of the article. The article focuses on what nurses should do as they examine someone in order to present testimony either for or against them. These cases include domestic violence to sexual assault. As I read through this article, I feel that all nurses should pay special attention to what is listed, because they may not know it, but they could be the only person who could ever help someone out in an abusive situation.
The article goes through and lists specific things that the nurses should look for. I feel that it is important to take at look at these steps, not just for a nurse but also for any concerned citizen. Like I said, even outside of doctor’s offices, it is our responsibility to look out for fellow human beings, and see if they are in need.
1) Be Suspicious-don’t be nosy, but pay attention to what people are saying and doing around you
2) Document your Findings- keep clear documentation and a visual record
3) If need be gather physical evidence
4) Preserve the Evidence
5) Protect the chain of custody
6) If need be testify in court or report it to the proper authorities
If we just simply look over these situations we are guilty in my book of negligence.
Does this mean that this is strictly used for physical circumstances only? NO. Not only as citizens or medical professionals are we responsible for the physical care of society, but the mental care as well. As a nurse we have the skills to do a good physical and emotional assessment to understand the evidence surrounding a situation.

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