Sample Essay 2
Harvard, Current affairs/family illness: Medicine The Key to Medical Advancement Throughout the twentieth century, virtually every aspect of modern medicine has reaped the rewards of technological advancements. Society will be forever indebted to those pioneers who conceived the vast array of preventions, treatments, and cures that are readily available to mankind today. Apparently, the imaginations of these pioneers know no boundaries, for every day we are informed of progress in yet another domain of study. Until recently, relatively little ethical consideration needed to accompany our quest for improvement. Indeed, few can find moral fault with important discoveries such as a polio vaccine and insulin. However, medicine is now venturing into areas, such as genetics, which explore the very core of human existence. Consequently, I believe that if medical advancements in these fields are going to continue to benefit society, we need to consider all possible ethical effects before implementing new discoveries. We must ensure that the potential for abuse will not override the capacity for gain. One of the biggest breakthroughs in genetics has been the use of bacteria to genetically engineer drugs such as insulin and growth hormone. Five years ago, a brain tumor destroyed my brother's pituitary gland. He now takes genetically engineered growth hormone on a daily basis to replace that which he no longer naturally produces. This technology has helped give back to him a portion of what he lost to the tumor. An effort is currently underway to make growth hormone more readily available to the general public for treatment of ailments such as osteoporosis, severe burns, and infertility. Many people could benefit from growth hormone, but there is also a high probability that it will be abused for athletic purposes. Football great Lyle Alzado appeared on national television appealing to the public to refrain from misusing the growth hormone which he felt was responsible for his brain cancer. Therefore I feel we need to limit how available we make the drug in order to ensure that it does more good than harm. Research in genetics is also helping us to locate genes which are linked to diseases such as Cystic Fibrosis, Sickle Cell Anemia, and Huntington's disease. The knowledge of these genes may lead to better treatments and maybe even a cure one day. As well, genetics is now being used in amniocentesis tests to determine, for abortion purposes, if an embryo has an abnormality such as the medical condition known as Down's Syndrome. Giving people the opportunity to abort an unplanned child is an issue all by itself. Giving people the opportunity to abort a planned pregnancy because the child isn't what they wanted is absolutely ludicrous. I am a support worker for a child who has Down's Syndrome. He's every bit as much a human being as you and I, and therefore is entitled to all the privileges that accompany the status. Every day he makes me smile and reminds me of how lucky I am simply to be alive. He is the epitome of the innocence which is all too often absent from our fast-paced lives. What happens when our knowledge expands, as it inevitably will, and an amniocentesis can test for hair and eye color? Will we abort a pregnancy because the child won't develop blond hair and blue eyes? After all, the argument could be made that a poor physical appearance may cause hardship in life. More importantly, if the technology becomes available, will we custom design children to our specifications by manipulating their genes? Whatever happened to playing the cards we're dealt? If we're not careful we might create another Frankenstein. Implementing these, and other technologies raises some critical ethical issues. A world war took place over 50 years ago because numerous countries intensely disagreed with Adolf Hitler on some of these same issues. Hitler wanted to create a supreme race and eliminate disabled people such as those...
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