Ambiguous Medical Ethics
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Politics and Activism

Ambiguous Medical Ethics

There have been many situations in modern medical history that leave us wondering what ethics truly are.

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Ambiguous Medical Ethics
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In the course of the history of science and medicine we see many extreme and precedential situations where it is unclear whether human dignity and social justice are upheld or disregarded. People have many different perspectives and opinions on the subject depending on their morals and their relationship with these occurrences.

One example of this is the Memorial Hospital during Hurricane Katrina. Once Hurricane Katrina had destroyed all of New Orleans, the Memorial Hospital ran out of resources for their patients. With no food or power, the patients were looking into the face of death. As the hospital began to flood, quick decisions had to be made by those in charge.

Patients were evacuated with the help of hospital staff. Some patients were easily evacuated and taken to safety, while others were not so lucky and died in the process. As time ran out and the situation became more and more critical, difficult decisions had to be made. There were some patients who could not be easily evacuated in the short amount of time that they had.

For example, one patient by the name of Emmet Everett weighed 380 pounds and was wheelchair bound. Emmet Everett and 44 other patients could not be practically evacuated and were left to die in the hospital. They later found lethal amounts of morphine in each of these 45 unfortunate patients. Were human dignity and social justice upheld in this situation?

The story of Donald Cowart is another example of ethically ambiguous decisions. Donald Cowart was an ordinary young man from Texas. Like every other man his age, Dax had dreams, aspirations, and plans for his life.

All of this was instantaneously cut short when he was severely burned in a car explosion. His father died in the ambulance on the way to the hospital, but Dax survived the excruciating trip and was immediately placed under urgent care in the burn center. He was severely burned and was in immense amounts of pain. Dax knew that he would never have the life that he had lived prior to the accident; he was going to be limited because he lost his eyesight and all ten of his fingers.

“Let me die. I want to die.” These are the words Donald Cowart uttered when he arrived to the hospital. He did not wish to live this life. He wanted to be the Dax before the accident, but he knew that this would never happen.

The doctors allowed his mother, Ada Cowart, to make his medical decisions because of the critical state that he was in. He was placed under intensive treatment against his will in an attempt to save his life and leave him as independent as possible. Dax did not wish to receive this treatment. Should he have been given the option to accept or refuse treatment?

Both of these examples are recent. Laws have been passed in some states in an attempt to control what doctor's can and cannot do with and without their patient's consent. Ethics are ambiguous, and I believe that regardless of laws, they will always remain ambiguous in nature.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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