Ethical Principles to Treatment the Homeless Patient

Critical Thinking Essay Introduction

In making a decision on the scope and approach to treatment of an uninsured homeless patient, an administrator or health care professional should take into account the following ethical concepts:

  1. The principle of beneficence.
  2. The principle of respect for autonomy.
  3. The principle of non-maleficence.
  4. The principle of justice.


Unfortunately, nowadays, most of healthcare facilities abide by the utilitarian plans that ensure productivity and cost-efficiency. At best, doctors focus on the occurrence of a disease and use emergency funds to cover treatment costs. In worst case scenario, they try to shift the burden to social services and claim full occupancy to reject aid (DiPietro, 2014).

Critical Thinking Essay Body Paragraphs

The first principle requires doing maximum good for anyone in need. It implies that health care professionals are not only obliged to diagnose and provide emergency care to a homeless person but also feed him/her and give shelter if that is the reason for his/her reference to the hospital. They should also design a long-term assistance strategy to take the person from the streets and mitigate the impact of factors harming his/her health (Dunford, Buchanan, & Jain, 2009).

The second principle postulates recognition of an individual’s right to maintain self-determination. It implies that health care staff cannot force a homeless and uninsured person to accept care or treatment he/she refuses from. This attitude also refers to the lifestyle a person maintains if this is the case of his/her deliberate choice. A person cannot be forced to find accommodation or bear insurance and treatment costs.

The third principle designates that a health care professional should not do anything that could hurt a socially vulnerable patient. On the one hand, if a patient is hungry and cold but not sick at the moment of his application, hospital administrators should not send him back into the streets, where he/she is likely to develop a range of medical conditions. On the other hand, a patient should not be denied appropriate quality treatment and forwarded to inapt social services being aware that this approach would diminish his/her chances of recovery and survival (DiPietro, 2014).

The fourth principle requires treating all patients in a fair and equal way. Under no conditions should physicians compromise the standards of care in order to boost cost-efficiency if such initiatives are detrimental to a patient’s health (Weiner, 2001).

Critical Thinking Essay Conclusion

It is possible to conclude that the ethical approach to health care provision requires respect to all of the principles listed above.

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