Below you will find the Professor’s instruction:
I hope that you’re a little disturbed or at least intrigued by these videos (Nazi Doctors “The deadly experiments” and “The deadly Choices at Memorial” (both videos can be found on youtube.com) At the very least they point to the truth that a process takes place inside of a physician that leads him or her to take or to avoid certain actions. Some people (Edmund Pellegrino from earlier in the semester is such an example) hold that at its very foundation the healthcare system, and the complex web of caregiver-patient relationships it instantiates, is about only one thing: the pursuit of the good of the patient. Yet, even apart from obvious cases of patient abuse, determining just what the good of a person may be is hard to achieve. That’s where conscience is supposed to come it. It’s meant to assist individuals as they make those determinations.
The readings below will create some historical perspective for us. Use the ideas you encounter there as you begin to think about your third reflection paper which is due at the end of the next unit, i.e., Unit 12 — that is to say, by Monday, APRIL 20. In any event, your task for SYNTHESIS PAPER #3 is as follows:
Compose a your own case in which a few different moral agents interact in a clinical situation which involves a conflict between the perceived good of one or more of the agents. Fill the case out with relevant personal and ethically-interesting details by analyzing it according to Pellegrino’s four-part matrix. Finally, using some kind of analytic resource that we’ve covered in class (e.g., Kantian de-ontology, Rawlsian contractarian ethics, principles of Catholic Social Teaching, etc.) suggest a way by which the conflicting goods might be balanced.
As a quick example (and to be an acceptable submission for the writing assignment it would obviously have to be much more exact and detailed than this): if I were to do this project I might imagine a situation in which a physician who has cared for a family for many years (and hence, has a duty to care for multiple patients who know each other) learns that the mother has a genetic disorder very likely passed on to her children. He shares this with the mother presuming that she would want the children to know only to learn that she absolutely forbids him to disclose this information to her children. So, where are the conflicting goods? Well, they are at least to be found in that the physician has a duty to treat the mother as a patient (and to keep her confidentiality) but he also must treat the children. Whose good is to prevail? Towards the end of the assignment I might decide to take the approach of a utilitarian and argue that the physician should tell the children that they might have this genetic condition and hence attempt to pursue the good of the greatest number of agents.
So, to review: for the assignment I want you to 1) compose the narrative of a case with names, personalities, relevant histories, etc. 2) Analyze the important facets of it according to Pellegrino’s matrix. 3) Propose a solution to the problems presented by using some resource that we’ve studied this semester.
[And, as a final note. Please DO NOT take an already-composed case from somewhere else. I want you to imagine and compose your own. If you do present a case to me from a book or an online source I will more than likely figure that out and have to consider that as plagiarism. If you’ve got any questions or concerns about this aspect of the assignment, please be in touch with me!]
READ: “Conscience,” by Timothy E. O’Connell in Principles for a Catholic Morality (pgs. 83-97). Please click HERE.
READ: “Euthanasia and the Physician’s Role: Reflections on Some Views in the Ancient Greek Tradition,” by Georgios Anagnostopoulos in Bioethics: Ancient Themes in Contemporary Issues (pgs. 251-290). Please click HERE.