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Ethical Principle

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  • Pages: 7
  • Word count: 1697
  • Category: Liberty

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What is the ethical dilemma?

The ethical dilemma is this care is twenty-nine-year-old women named Janet and her husband Jack were coming home from the doctor and were suddenly hit by a driver. Which had killed the husband Jack and caused Janet to have a severe head injury, who had just found out she was nine weeks pregnant. After about a month since the accident she was still in continuation for some time in a persistent vegetative state.

Janet’s ethical view about mortality was already in advance prior to the accident so she had it in written form and with a medical background she knew what she wanted, but her husband deceased she no longer had a primary agent to make the decision to withdrawal treatment. Since her parent were the secondary agents for making her decision for her, with them both being healthcare professionals as well. They were responsibility of acting as the surrogates for Janet and talking to the physician and their priest came to a decision of accepting her wishes and stop everything except palliative care.

After physicians went over her records to stop care, one resident physician came across that Janet was pregnant and had wondered if it was legally, ethically or religiously right to go through with her wishes even since she was making a decision for not just herself but another human being as well. After the resident did a little bit of online research and finds that “in the State of Kansas, a women’s healthcare directives about “withholding or withdrawal of life-sustaining procedures in a terminal condition” may not legally be in effect while pregnant.” (Rosell, PhD).

Who will be affected by the decision and what is at stake for them?

Janet’s parent will be affected by this decision because legally even if it is Janet’s decision and she had the forms to prove what she wanted if she was ever put in this state of life to be pulled off life support, she is not just caring for herself but also baby. Her decision can now be ruled out and it is now her parent’s decision to make the call and keep her on life support until the baby is born with or without health issues. Another possibility is they go to the state and get it approved for what she wanted with or without being pregnancy. So now what are Janet’s parents supposed to do? Should they fight for what their daughter wanted? Should the parents go against what Janet wanted and keep her on life support for the sake of their grandchild? What would be the most ethical and morally right decision?

Considering the various stakeholders, and knowledge of ethical principles, what are the ethically relevant factors?

  • What are the chances that Janet can still have her baby is she stayed on life support?
  • Who will benefit from Janet going on hospice care? Who will not?
  • Does bot the baby and Janet have any chance of surviving if Janet stayed on life support?
  • Is it ethical to go against Janet’s wishes of not wanting any treatment that would prong her because she is in a different circumstance then she was when she made those plans?

After watching a video about assisted suicide, abortion, and Euthanasia, a question pops up about Janet’s parents are in a different situation from just abortion, assisted suicide or euthanasia. In the video, he talks about personal liberty, and describes person liberty as “everyone should be free to make decisions about they own lives and their own deaths.” He also says that you cannot use the argument of person liberty to defend abortion, if the reason is to spare the child some pain and suffering. Since Janet had already completed her advanced directive months before the accidents and before she knew she was pregnant. Regardless of what her future had for her she will made the decision to carry on with her healthcare treatment directive and stated how she felt about life prolongation.

Stakeholders that come up are Janet had a right to fill out her own advance directives and her healthcare treatment directive ahead of time. She planned ahead and made sure that people knew what she wanted if it ever came to the point of her being in this situation. But since Janet’s Unborn child has a right to life, even though the child’s mother already had a plan set for when she would be in a nonresponsive vegetative state. Since Janet’s mother and father have the right to continue with what their daughter wanted and they have the right to see if their unborn grandchild has any chance of survival

During the course of action, they postpone hospice care and continue on the life support, Janet’s parents can go against what their daughters advance directive says and decide they want to keep her on life support which can have many outcomes. Such as keeping her on life support there is a slight chance the doctors can figure out if the baby has any chance of survival and the other is if they keep Janet on life support there is a chance they both may be able to survive but it looks very grim as the doctors say.

Nonmaleficence is an ethical principle that states humans should not act in ways that can inflict evil or cause harm to others. Also, we should not cause avoidable or intentional harm, which includes avoiding the risk of harm. This means that she does not have to intend to harm someone nor does she actually have to cause harm to violate this ethical principle. If Janet knowingly or unknowingly subjected a person to unnecessary risk then she has automatically violated this principle

Another ethical principle is rights and rights-based ethics, which is there are two different kind of rights that is mentioned is ethical theory, which are natural rights and universal rights. Natural rights are seen to be a gift of nature or something that cannot be taken away. Human beings have a natural right to life, liberty, and property. Universal rights form the basis for establishing and evaluating ethical standards within the social order.

Hospice care could be supported by the theory of respect for persons, Janet’s parents can continue with Janet’s healthcare choice to take her off the assisted nutrition, hydration and life support and then be put in hospice care. But if they continue on with the original plan, they will have to deal with the idea of losing their daughter and grandchild. This leads to another Ethical principle of respect for a person, which is all human beings have an unconditional moral worth, and should always be treated as if there is a greater value than we are. In order for humans to behave as rational agents we must be self- aware, we must also be able to have an objective thought and the ability to reason. The ability to reason is very important to have because it is believed to giver people humanity and dignity that must be respected. Every person has equal worth, not one person is better than the other, so we should treat others like we would want to be treated.

How does sensitivity toward some of the ethically relevant factors compete with sensitivity toward others?

Janet’s desire for this specific treat conflicts with the States right to conscientious objection. If one respects Janet’s desire, then I feel like it is her right to go through with what she desires. Even if she is pregnant and puts her in position of the three ethical principles that we talked about above then once going through court, it should be the states right to allow her to go through with what she desires. This is because she had done all the right things through the state of Kansas asks. The pregnancy most likely will have many problems since she is in a vegetative state and staying alive through life support. Since it is now her parents’ choice they should have the right to see if the baby will make it and if they are able to care for the baby for the rest of their lives since the parents are no longer able to care for the unborn child. Janet’s parents are somewhat religious, so Christian ethics comes into play with this situation. With abortion being a sin in the religious world, Janet’s situation is no exception, even though Janet didn’t want to be in a Vegetative state the rest of her life and put her family through the rough life of taking care of her she had already came up with a decision for what she wanted and her parents supported that. But I feel like it should still be up to her parents to take her off life support even if she is pregnant and that it is again their religious view but what if the baby has many problems from not getting the right care from the mother being sedated the whole pregnancy. What if the grandparents sustainable enough to care for the child for when he/she gets here?

I feel like it is the Parents choice and not the states to go with Janet’s wishes because since the baby is still too young, the chances of the baby to lives a good life are very little. Even though the doctors want to keep her on life support until they find out more about the baby it is putting the family into a hard state of depression to make a decision. With this being said I think since Janet filled out all the right papers and her parents approved of her situation she should be allowed to die, even if it doesn’t sustain of some ethical principles, it’s Janet’s and her family’s decision and this was the way God intended things to happen even if she is pregnant. With allowing her to die at least all three of the new family are together in an afterlife.  

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