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Question One: Tow Appropriate Ethical Theory in Making Moral Decision.
For this question, the two theories that are appropriate and the best when an individual is making the right decisions in a medical predicament are Aquinas’ Natural Law and Aristotle’s ethical theory. Aristotle’s virtue theory argues that virtuous people will always find themselves doing the right thing (Butts, & Rich, 2015).
An example of a medical predicament is the issue of euthanasia which is intentionally ending a person’s life to relieve suffering and pain. Bradly is one of the medical doctors in a large infirmary. Bradly is the physician in charge of a patient on a life support machine. Bradly and the staff find themselves in a contradicting situation because they feel that the patient is going through a lot. They want to remove the patient from the life support machine and allow nature to take its sequence but on the other hand, the family members feel like it is the responsibility of the doctor to care of their patient. Bradly is applying Aristotle’s virtue theory as he is disturbed that the patient is going through a lot of pain. Bradly feels that he is morally right because the patient is going through a lot and the only thing he can do is to remove the patient from the machine and allow nature to take its course. However, Bradly might be morally wrong as the family members want Bradly and the team to do everything to keep their loved one alive notwithstanding what Bradly and the groupthink.
Question Two: Principles of Biomedical Ethics
In medical decision making the principle of beneficence is the most important because it is based on the value that the physician must be of benefits to their patients (Ten Have, 2015). On the other hand, the principle that is least significant is the value of utility. This principle is least important because it only focuses on the most significant advantage and pleasure and in medicine, the goal is to balance possible benefits against risks of action.
An example of a predicament is that Nick as a physician and is supposed to amputate a leg because of a condition which if the process is not done soon the person might die. Nick applied the principle of beneficence in making the decision. A physician must balance possible benefits counter to a risk of an act. The principle of utility is least important because it only focuses on the pleasure and most benefits of an action and for the case of an amputation it calls for a tough decision to make.
Question Three: Case Study the Hernandez’s
In the case of this scenario, I think Maria should take the hormonal treatment because it is the law of nature to procreate according to Aquinas’ Natural Law. According to this theory when an individual fulfills the natural need, he/she will be contented. Therefore, the action is morally right (Monteverde, 2015). The principle of autonomy will apply the decision of the patient should be respected regardless of the consequences. However, there is a probability that the child will be born with the disability, but that does not mean that the child has been harmed by being brought into existence.
Question Four: Case of Ms. Sonja Pines
Mill would have been against a performance of CPR on Ms. Pines. The act will be based on the ethical theory of Utilitarianism which holds that the best act or an action is the one that maximizes the well-being of a person and not one that results to the suffering of anyone involved in the action. Although CPR will be beneficial to Ms. Pines Kant would say that CPR is performed on Ms. Pines. The ideology is rooted in the ethical theory which incorporates the Categorical Imperative, where, one has to consider a setting in which individuals did CPR or not. If logically, it was not possible to imagine a context that CPR could be performed, the doctor should not do it. But, if it were possible to imagine such a setting, then it would be better for the concerned parties to ask themselves if the patient would want to live in that setting and if this question is answered as yes, then the CPR should be done. Putting in mind Kant’s formula of Kingdom ends – which holds that we should never treat others as means but ends – it would be logical and somewhat ethical to perform CPR on MS Pines. Gilligan would say CPR be performed to Ms. Pines. The notion is rooted in her Ethics of Care theory which emphasized the importance of the response to the individual. In this case, the doctor should not weigh, at any given point, possibilities of the procedure or the patient’s survival. Instead, she should uphold care as a primary objective and perform CPR for Ms. Pines.
The physician should report the matter to Child Services. According to Mill, actions are right if the consequence tends to promote happiness (Monteverde, 2015). In this case, the caregiver of the child did a wrong thing to perform coining to the child as the consequence of this action did not bring happiness to a child. Therefore, she should be reported to the Child Services. Using Kant’s theory highlights, the caregiver should be reported to the Child Services because she used the child as a means to an end.
Question Six: Comparison and Contrast of Aristotle’s, Kant’s and Mill’s Theories
Both Aristotle’s and Kant’s theories avow the role of an individual over the result of their actions. The reasoning and character of an individual determine the moral stand. Both Aristotle and Kant concur that there are actions that are not accepted and therefore such actions should be avoided by a person. Moreover, both Aristotle’s and Mill’s theories base their proposition on an individual’s quest for happiness (Cohen-Almagor, 2017). Lastly, both Kant and Mill advocate for the individual’s freedom regarding the pursuit of morality, that one should be able to consider whether or not, their actions are moral or immoral.
Despite, their similarities, these theories hold different ideas to heart. Their philosophical approaches differ. Aristotle and Mill put forward practical and understandable constructs for their moral philosophy and the expectations of the humans and the societies while Kant appears to be strict in his ideas of the people and the society if his approach on moral philosophy would be followed. Aristotle’s and Mill’s moral philosophies are considered teleological while Kant’s moral philosophy is considered deontological (Monteverde, 2015). Lastly, Aristotle also evades fixing god in his idea and advocates for the conscious course of action of the individual in understanding morality.
Butts, J., & Rich, K. (2015). Foundations of ethical nursing practice. Role development in professional nursing practice, 117.
Cohen-Almagor, R. (2017). On the philosophical foundations of medical ethics: Aristotle, Kant, JS Mill and Rawls. Ethics, Medicine and Public Health, 3(4), 436-444.
Monteverde, S. (2015). Undergraduate healthcare ethics education, moral resilience, and the role of ethical theories. Nursing ethics, 21(4), 385-401.
Ten Have, H. (2015). Respect for human vulnerability: the emergence of a new principle in bioethics. Journal of bioethical inquiry, 12(3), 395-408.