Health & Medical Question

Choose a case where either a legal or ethical decision was made. Use a case in  Vaughn’s  bioethics textbook or another of your choosing. Summarize the case and outcome. Take a stance whether you believe that was the correct outcome/ decision based on relevant ethical principles, concepts and theories. Describe your stance in detail referencing the textbook and or other relevant reliable sources. Typed, double spaced using apa format   

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Title: Ethical Decision-Making in Healthcare: Analysis of a Case

In the realm of medicine, practitioners often encounter challenging situations that require them to make crucial decisions with legal or ethical implications. This discussion delves into the analysis of a case involving a legal or ethical decision, offering an evaluation of the outcome based on relevant ethical principles, concepts, and theories. By drawing upon Vaughn’s bioethics textbook and other reliable sources, an informed stance will be taken to assess the correctness of the decision made in light of the case.

Case Summary:
The selected case involves the “Baby Doe” case, which gained significant attention in the early 1980s in the United States. Baby Doe was born with severe esophageal atresia, a condition that affected his ability to swallow and sustain proper nutrition. Without immediate corrective surgery, Baby Doe would likely die within a short period. However, the parents belonging to the religious group known as the Christian Science Church refused medical treatment for the child based on religious beliefs. Consequently, the hospital initiated legal proceedings to authorize the surgery and challenge the parents’ stance.

The court, in their ruling, sided with the hospital and authorized the surgery to be performed on Baby Doe, overriding the parents’ objections. Despite the medical intervention, the child failed to survive due to prolonged malnutrition and associated complications.

Stance and Justification:
Based on relevant ethical principles, concepts, and theories, I believe the outcome of the Baby Doe case was the correct decision. One crucial ethical principle that supports this stance is the Best Interest Principle, which states that healthcare professionals should prioritize the best interests of the patient, especially when their life is at stake (Vaughn, 2016).

In this case, the parents’ religious beliefs conflicted with the welfare of the child. By refusing the necessary surgery, they were placing their faith above their child’s right to life and disregarding the child’s best interest. The court’s decision to authorize the surgery protected the child from potentially avoidable suffering and upheld the principle of beneficence.

Additionally, the ethical principle of Autonomy applies to this case. While it is essential to respect parental autonomy, it should not extend to the extent that it infringes upon the rights and welfare of a child. Given that Baby Doe was unable to exercise autonomy on his own behalf, the court had a duty to act as a voice for the child’s best interest.

Furthermore, the concept of Negligence is relevant here. The hospital had a legal obligation under the principle of Nonmaleficence to ensure that the child received timely and appropriate medical care. By pursuing legal action, the hospital fulfilled this obligation and prevented potential harm from befalling the child.

In conclusion, the outcome of the Baby Doe case, whereby the court authorized the surgery against the parents’ objections, aligns with the principles of beneficence, autonomy, and nonmaleficence. By prioritizing the best interests of the child, protecting their right to life, and preventing potential harm, the decision made was ethically sound and justified.

Vaughn, L. (2016). Bioethics: Principles, Issues, and Cases (3rd ed.). Oxford University Press.

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