Sister's Keeper

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St. Petersburg College Applied Ethics Program
Critical Thinking & Application Paper

Instructions: Read the case and answer the questions your instructor provided. Instead of writing one, long traditional essay based on the questions, reflect on and answer the questions individually, giving a detailed and thorough answer for each.


Sister's Keeper

After several years of miscarriages, Edward and Susan turn to in vitro fertilization as a means of screening embryos for genetic defects. More than two years elapse, with all the attendant discomfort and expense, but finally an “acceptable” embryo is produced and implanted. To their joy, nine months later they are blessed by Michelle, an apparently happy, healthy baby. They decide that they will not tempt fate by trying to increase their family, instead choosing to relish the raising of their daughter. Five years pass and they eagerly anticipate Michelle’s starting kindergarten. They have elected to enroll her in a well-respected private school so as to realize her fullest potential. Part of the school’s pre-entry preparation is an extremely thorough set of physical examinations. (The physical examinations are not done to screen for admission, but rather to anticipate potential health issues while the student is enrolled.)

To their horror, the examinations determine that Michelle has early symptoms of a particularly virulent form of Acute Childhood Lymphoid Leukemia. Nothing in the embryonic screening could have predicted its occurrence. They begin immediate conventional treatments which prove to be ineffective. At their oncologist’s recommendation they enroll her in the nation’s premier pediatric oncology program. She gives them the bad news that Michelle shows evidence of having Philadelphia chromosome-positive ALL. The most successful treatment involves hematopoietic stem cell transplantation from...
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