Values are defined as a belief in something, and morals are greater defined as the motives based on ideas of right or wrong (Changing Minds, 2012). There was a great impact placed on family, friends, and medical staff as viewed in both the Dax and Terry Schiavo cases, there values are morals were highlights as all went through these trying times. Don Cowards’ case had an emotional impact on many, most greatly on his mother, the one left to decide what treatments he should receive while in the hospital as he was requesting to be left to die. His mother, the physicians, and nurses were not going to let him make the choice of refusing treatment, even after being deemed mentally competent to do so. The actions these people took highlights their morals and values as a social whole, by continuing his treatment they valued his life and thought that this was the right thing to do at this time. In Terry Schiavos’ case societies morals and values were split, the government ruled for her death by starvation, because her spouse after eleven years decided Terry, a healthy, cognitively intact patient wouldn’t want to live in that state if given the decision. Medical staff, family, and much of the public believed that they should not be allowed to make that decision for her, as other public citizens thought it was a rightful thing to do. There is no “norm” in society, values and morals are based on the individual, what they believe, and how they were raised, and in both cases the people witnessing the stories have different beliefs on what should happen.
Changing Minds. (2012). Values, Morales, and Ethics. Retrieved January 30, 2013, from Changing Minds: http://changingminds.org/explanations/values/values_morals_ethics.htm