PHIL Case Study 1

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PHIL 235 – Biomedical Ethics

Introduction
Health care, as the name implies, concerns the health and well being of individuals. Although physical aspects of health are particularly important in assessing a person’s well being, there are many other factors that determine whether a person is truly well, with factors such as happiness and psychological wellness playing an equally important role. As doctors attempt to maximize the well being of their patients, they must also keep into consideration their responsibilities and duties towards the general good. In cases such as Scott Starson’s, these varying allegiances can clash, with the apparent well being of a patient potentially bringing harm onto bystanders within society. To better understand the mechanics in these situations, one has to understand the many biomedical ethical concepts and particularities that concern both the patient and the doctor. As the following will demonstrate, both parties can build valid arguments within proper ethical boundaries. On the one hand, patients deemed competent can see the imposition of treatment as an affront to their dignity and rights, while doctors can challenge competence and argue that imposing treatment brings about greater benefits. With every particular ethical consideration taken into account, one sees that the patient’s needs somewhat trumps the doctor’s position and that some form of compromise must be reached to maximize the good that comes from the final treatment decision.

An Argument in favour of Starson In assessing the merits of the Scott Starson case, one can find a fair amount of support for the patient’s claims through a variety of components of biomedical ethics. Firstly, regarding the doctors’ opposition to Starson’s decision, it is important to determine the sort of relationship that should exist between physicians and their patients. To this effect, proponents of Starson’s point of view could argue that contractual physician-patient relationships



Cited: CanLII. "Health Care Consent Act, 1996, SO 1996, c 2, Sch A." CanLII. http://www.canlii.org/en/on/laws/stat/so-1996-c-2-sch-a/latest/so-1996-c-2-sch-a.html "Prevention and Wellness." Prevention and Wellness. N.p., n.d. Web. 24 Feb. 2014. http://public.health.oregon.gov/Prevention Wellness/Pages/index.aspx Kluge, Eike. Readings in biomedical ethics: a Canadian focus. 3rd ed. Toronto: Pearson Prentice Hall, 2005. "Social Psychology Network." Tips on Informed Consent. N.p., n.d. Web. 24 Feb. 2014. <http://www.socialpsychology.org/consent.htm>

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