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Eggs and Salmonella as Ethical Dilemma in Community

Ethical dilemmas are integral questions in almost each sphere of life; and nursing, law, or even science are the most frequent examples where ethical dilemmas may appear. Littleton and Engebretson (2005) admit that nurses usually encounter a number of ethical dilemmas in their practice, and much attention has to be paid in order to solve these dilemmas and provide people with necessary services considering all moral and ethical principles. One of the articles in Los Angeles Times written by Shari Roan discusses an issue of eggs which are under recall and are still in demand by many people around the whole world. Roan (2010) admits that “considering the threat of infection, consumers who prepare and eat the eggs are taking too much of a chance (para. 4). And it turns out to be one of the most serious aspects of human life – why, being aware of possible threats, so many people continue buying food that is of too high danger and neglecting simple precautionary measures which help to promote good and strong health. Today medicine and health care system are of double nature, and a number of dilemmas still disturb many people who are involved into nursing practice and who are not (Burkhardt & Nathaniel, 2008).

This is why the ethical dilemma is almost evident in the case under consideration: people are aware of the danger that comes from eggs which are under recall and continue buying it, and nurses, in their turn, know a lot about the harm produced by eggs and the existed salmonella bacteria and do not find it necessary to protect people against possible threats to their health. The question is how long people should put their health and the health of their children under a threat and buy harmful products, eggs in particular. What type of outcome may prevent them against making such mistakes? This is why the dilemma to be discussed in the paper and the task to make everything possible but to find an appropriate alternative seems to be an important issue for nursing.

Among the variety of ethical theories and principles, it is possible to define several ideas to the case under discussion and introduce personal point of view regarding case peculiarities. Eggs and the threat to get sick because of salmonella bacteria should make people think about the outcomes of their decisions and the possibilities to overcome negative results. This is why such ethical theory as utilitarianism takes place. This theory is all about the prediction of consequences of human actions. People are free to choose whether to use food or to find a proper alternative to it. However, they also create dilemmas in their life because they fail to pay much attention to the possibility of choice; they do not want to spend their time and to search for the alternative, this is why they choose something that is available but still harmful. Moral theory is another powerful aspect of decision-making process that is so inherent to human actions (Thompson, Melia, & Boyd, 2006). Evaluation of an event from an ethical perspective should help people make right decisions and consider their own demands, interests, and wishes. Unfortunately, some people are weak or diffident, and, even being aware of threats to their health, they continue taking unsafe food and drinks. The dilemma appears: whether it is necessary to spend time on informing people about dangers and precautionary measures if they fail to listen to them carefully and make necessary decisions. They may hear a lot about dangers and even fatal outcomes, but still, they truly hope that any serious dangers may not disturb them and they can avoid serious consequences. Though people are free to choose in accordance with the existed ethical principles and the theory of human rights, it is necessary to pay more attention to what people are eating and drinking and try to find appropriate alternatives.

One of the main assignments of this paper is to find out several appropriate alternatives and prove the correctness of a choice. The ethical dilemma of the case is the inability to comprehend why some people continue using harmful products and why nurses and other professionals in the chosen sphere support an idea of promoting such products to people. Though alternatives are rather limited in this case, they exist. First, it is possible to find appropriate substitute for eggs and promote it in society. Another idea is to forbid the use of eggs and make their spreading illegal. Finally, it is possible to make them available to people only without bacteria, it means to sell them only after they have been cooked.

An idea to forbid the use of eggs is considered to be the most effective; but still it is hard to make this alternative come true. People will have to obey the order and neglect their demands and wishes. This is why it is better to analyze the priorities of other two alternatives. On the one hand, if people can, they may find an appropriate substitute for eggs: milk, butter, potatoes, etc. However, there are many people who cannot imagine their diets without eggs, this is why the last alternative should be prioritized: the development of places where eggs are cooked under safe conditions and suggested to people so that salmonella bacteria are not dangerous for people.

To make this alternative work in practice, it is possible to follow a certain plan of action. First, it is necessary to make sure that no person has an access to eggs under recall which are characterized by the presence of salmonella bacteria. It is impossible to make the whole world reject the use of eggs under recall at once, this is why it is possible to choose one community and analyze its behavior and their attitude to the alternative suggested. The next step is to proclaim the use of eggs under recall officially dangerous and illegal and introduce them a number of alternatives and places where people are still able to use eggs. These organizations should be under control of many people: nurses, ecologists, regulators, etc. In this case, ethical principles are taken into consideration, and the idea of ethical dilemma is solved. People are not deprived of the opportunity to eat their favorite food, but still the use of this food is possible only under safe conditions.

In general, to protect people against their own harmful desires and demands seems to be rather successful and effective using the above-mentioned alternatives. Many people cannot define the level of threats they choose day by day. This is why nurses and other professionals who are able to identify a threat should explain its outcomes and the reasons of why other people should not neglect the importance of ethical principles and the necessity to take as many reliable steps as possible and achieve good results.

Reference List

Burkhardt, M.A. &Nathaniel, A.K. (2008). Ethics & Issues in Contemporary Nursing. Clifton Park, NY: Delmar Learning.

Littleton, L. Y. & Engebretson, J. (2005). Maternity Nursing Care. Clifton Park, NY: Cengage Learning.

Roan, S. (2010). Eggs and Salmonella: What You Need to Know. Los Angeles Times. Web.

Thompson, I.E., Melia, K.M., & Boyd, K.M. (2006). Nursing Ethics. London: Elsevier Health Sciences.


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