Medical Ethics PHIL 148 @ Binghamton University, Sum 11


Case Study 6/15 Sam Ahmed (Care Ethics)

The main conflict in this Case Study is whether or not Doctor Hamid should push for the heart transplant even though the  12 year old patient Emma, wants to forgo the procedure.  The patient realizes that the procedure would not guarantee her full recovery stating that there is “10-20 percent chance at 5 year survival”.  Emma has gone through so many previous procedures and much to her dismay still has complications with her heart.  Emma also has already convinced her parents to follow her wishes although she condemns herself to death.  In Emma’s eyes, passive euthanasia, or the denial of any further treatment to “let nature take its course” to a natural death is worth more to her rather than going through another intense procedure and the grueling path to recovery.

Taking the stance of Care Ethics, the doctor must consider the relationships at stake rather than trying to justify his actions through some sort of moral code or standard as most other ethical theories do.  I believe that if the Doctor must show true empathy and compassion for other or his patient, Dr. Hamid must respect both Emma’s and her parent’s wishes.  It is not hard to understand why Dr. Hamid was “taken aback” by Emma’s request to deny treatment, essentially because no health care professional wants to let their patient die.  Dr. Hamid must relate to Emma’s situation and sympathize with the fact that she has undergone a myriad of treatments already and although some were successful, she still suffers from her heart condition.  If Dr. Hamid wants to truly retain the relationship between Emma and her parents, as proponents of Care Ethics argue, then Dr. Hamid cannot request a court order for the procedure.  Again, I realize that this goes against almost all beliefs as a doctor, and under any other ethical perspective this seems drastically immoral, under care ethics it is the relationships in certain situations which must be considered.  Care Ethics also allows individuals to be interdependent on attaining their interests, and in this case Emma’s interests are to forgo the transplant and stop fighting the condition.


What other obvious ethical perspectives’ does this decision go against?

Do you think there is an alternative solution? (still maintaining a strong patient professional relationship)

How would you act if Emma was your child?

Posted by

Comments (13) Trackbacks (0)