Biomedical Ethics Case Briefs

CASE A: A mother comes in with a child complaining of flu-like symptoms. As a protocol to diagnosis, the physician needs to do an overall check up on the patient to confirm if the situation the boy is suffering from is really flu. Once the shirt of the child was removed, several bruises were noticed on his torso. The mother confirms that such marks came from what she called as cao gio, a supposedly herbal treatment that she confirms to be working especially for the tribe that she and her family belonged with. It is supposed to raise out bad blood thus improving circulation and healing. Nevertheless, this very treatment caused pain to the patient and practically worsened the symptom the child was already suffering from.

The ethical condition that is raised in relation to this case is whether or not the mother should be subjected to particular disciplinary actions due to child abuse. Alternatively, should the case be treated as rather related to the mere idea of depending on culture and traditions, which accounts for the simple direction that the parents could best gain understanding from.

Considering this case, it is important for the physician to deal with the current situation first. It is assumed that the condition of the child is of utmost concern. After which, once diagnosis and treatment has all been given attention to and the child is likely healed, the process of defining the culture and assisting the parents through the process of reassessing the condition of treatment they give to their child should be handled accordingly.

CASE B: Patients are individuals who have the right to decide for their own selves. This is often noted as patient autonomy. For instance, Dax Cowart, a dying man, has decided that he does not want to receive any treatment to help him out from an accidental propane explosion that has caused him physical injuries. Nevertheless, the physicians decided to push through with the operation and was successful enough to save the person from dying. The patient however views this as a matter of going against his will therefore wants to sue the physicians from not following his orders and his right to autonomous decision.

The question of whether or not to save a patient is a crucial condition for physicians to consider especially if the patient do not want to live anymore. Relatively though, this does involve the need of the physicians to see through the value of their worth for the decision of saving a life and the possible cause of frustration it may cause the patient later on. What makes this an ethical matter to note is that the physicians need to balance out how they are to carry on with their duty when a patient decides that they are not supposed to get in the way of death.  Even if they may find it reasonable and possible to go on with procedures that might save the life of a person, they still need to question whether their provisions for the patient would give relief or frustration to the patient they are trying to treat.