Now Its Time to Take Ethics Quiz I
From Associated Press today: “CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas -- Child welfare officials seized a 12-year-old cancer patient from her parents, saying they were blocking radiation treatment that doctors say she needs.” With this story in the background to show how society can affect parental medical decision-making, let’s all take an ethics quiz using 3 variations of a different scenario.
Scenario 1- Both parents of a 12 year old son, who has already received two courses of very symptomatic chemotherapy treatments for a fatal cancer condition without improvement, are informed by the boy’s physicians that another treatment is “medically indicated” but the chance of response and improvement is only one in ten and may be much less. The physicians insist on attempting one more course, however both parents feel the toxicity to their child will be too profound and refuse to approve the therapy. The physicians want the court to take custody of the child if the parents refuse.
Scenario 2- Same as Scenario 1 but the son when informed by the physicians that he may die without another course of chemotherapy does not give assent to the treatment.
He explains that he doesn't want to experience the terrible symptoms he had with the previous treatments.
Scenario 3- Same as Scenario 1 but there is parental disagreement: mother approves another course and the father refuses. The son when informed that he might die without another course of chemotherapy does not give assent for the same reason as in Scenario 2.
Write me your comments about what you think is the most ethical resolution of each of the three scenarios if the goal of the decision-making is to provide care in the best interest of the 12 year old patient. ..Maurice.