Ethical Dilemma

Read this and answer the questions below: 

The ethical dilemma we choose is from an article published on Albert Einstein College of Medicine. The case is of a 17 year old Cassandra C.  who was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma and was receiving chemotherapy. Cassandra made the decision that she wanted to stop her chemotherapy treatments where she felt that she was receiving forced treatments. Cassandra recalls her undergoing procedures against her will by sedating and strapping her to the hospital bed.  However, since she was still a minor her mother did not consent to her haulting her treatments. The issue was taken to court where the judge overruled and siding with the medical judgement that there’s an 85 percent survival rate for those who undergo chemotherapy.  Once the ruling was sided the court decided to take custody of Cassandra, where underwent a procedure to install a chest port so that medications would be administered. The dilemma for Cassandra is that she was only one year away from being able to make an autonomous decision for herself but since she is a minor she was forced into something she didn’t want.

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The ethical dilemma we created was based off of the ethical principle of “autonomy” since the article we choose has to do with Cassandra not being able to make healthcare decisions for herself. Gary, 45 year old male was presented to the emergency room with signs of a stroke. Gary, was first diagnosed with a stroke at 40 years old. Admitted into the emergency room unconscious, he is accompanied by his wife and child. The doctor stops the bleeding which is cause by a cerebral aneurysm however another is spotted which can then increase the chance of another stroke.  The wife is given a form to sign for consent to allow a surgical procedure to prevent another hemorrhage which could result in many unwanted effects such as decline in cognitive ability to even paralysis. Without the surgery he death can occur, the wife states” it was painful for her husband and he said he doesn’t ever want to live like that or live compromised again”.

Without a consent the doctors are unable to perform the surgery, the doctor notices bruises on the wife’s arms hidden underneath her sweater. With that she comes to the realization that she has been abused by her husband. The wife admits to the abuse she has endured but refuses to consent for the surgery thus allowing the husband to die without the choice of autonomy to make his own decision. This presents as an ethical dilemma because patients are to make autonomous decisions for themselves but in this circumstance the doctor has to do so since the wife is causing harm and potential death to him. What should the doctor do? Is the wife in the wrong for this even though she has been constantly abused by her husband?

Answer this question:

  • 1. Apply any other method you have encountered in lecture material and the readings. ( Ex. Locke, Hobbes, Kant, Human Nature, St. Augustine, St. Thomas Aquinas)
  • 2. State which method you prefer and why

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