Case Study: Medical Moral Theology

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Matthew Sokoloff
Case Study 2 Medical Moral Theology

The principles we discussed that are relevant to this case are the refusing treatment principle and the surrogate principle. They are relevant in this case because the patient initially refuses treatment; therefore the doctors cannot perform the surgery on Mrs. G. However, when she loses consciousness she also loses the ability to consent and that responsibility is handed over to the next of kin: her daughter. The daughter is the surrogate because she is the next of kin.

The only case we addressed that is relevant in my opinion is the Terry Schiavo case. I believe this case is relevant because of the legal battle between her husband and her parents with the surrogacy problem. In that particular case the patient’s parents and her husband agreed on most things but after the husband finally said that’s enough and wanted to “pull the plug”, the parents decided that their daughter was a good catholic and would not want to be taken off life support because it is against their religion. In the end the husband won out that case and Terry was taken off life support and she perished.

In the case on hand, in the question of ethics I believe that Mrs. G was the only one acting ethically. She refused treatment and expected the doctors to respect her decision. The doctor, on the other hand, is acting very unethically as he is using a loophole in the system. If a patient refuses treatment and then loses the ability to consent, their previous directive becomes null. The decision for treatment is left to the legal surrogate which in this case is her daughter. I feel that the daughter should keep true to her mother’s wishes and also refuse treatment. I realize that the patient will die if this happens but the initial directive of the patient should be the one taken first and not broken. As I said before, if the patient does not wish to receive life sustaining treatment then said patient should not...
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