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EDF4603 Ethics

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  • Course Code: EDF4603
  • University: University Of Central Florida
  • Country: United States


The exam will consist of three essay questions, each of which is worth 10 points. You will have two hours to take the exam, and your final submission should be no longer than three typed, single-spaced pages. Your exam may be shorter, and that is okay as long as you cover the material, but I don't want you to go beyond three pages. The object of each essay is to get directly to the point(s) which address the question(s) asked. I do not want a lot of background information or a poetic introduction like you might have for a literature paper. On the other hand, you do need to include all the parts required if you are asked to make an argument using one of the five theories we studied. Remember to start any argument that uses a theory with the standard or standards of that theory, and then show how that standard or standards applies to the situation at hand (use Handout #3, just like you did for assignments #3 & #4). Finally, be sure to answer each part of each question - some questions have several parts, and I assign a point value to each part when I am grading.

There will be no surprises on the exam. Of the 6 questions below, three will appear on the exam. You may do as much work ahead of time to prepare your answers to these questions as you like. However, you will only have two hours to take the actual exam. Also, once you start the exam you cannot stop or return to it. If you stop typing for very long, it will time you out, and then you cannot reopen it. So, be sure you are ready to take the exam (cell phone off, kids in bed, bathroom needs attended to) before you start. I also have had students who have had trouble attaching files to the exam (if they are navigating between screens, they sometimes have gotten locked out), so you will probably be better off typing your answers right into the exam text boxes. You can take the exam anytime between July 23rd and July 30th - the exam is due at 9:00 AM on the 30th - don't try to type beyond that time, or the computer will cut you off because it is an exam. . . so if you are someone who does things at the last minute, be sure to leave yourself enough time. If you have questions as you are studying, please feel free to contact me.
1. Of the five theories we have studied (Mill, Kant, Aquinas, Aristotle & Gilligan), which TWO theories do YOU think are the best in terms of their ability to help in moral decision making when faced with ethical dilemmas in medicine? Why? Now, choose one of the two and give an example of what it would say should be done in the medical dilemma of your choosing. Be sure to explain the dilemma clearly and describe what the theory you chose would say was the right thing to do.

2. Of the five principles of biomedical ethics (autonomy, nonmaleficence, beneficence, utility and justice), which do YOU think is the most important for medical decision making? Why? Which of the five do YOU think is the least important in medical decision making? Why? Finally, give an example of a medical dilemma (this dilemma can be from the book, the news, real life or one you make up) and show why the principle you chose as least effective was not helpful.

3. Read the case below. Then, write an essay which says whether or not YOU believe that Maria should take the hormone treatments. Support your view by using one of the five theories we studied (Mill, Kant, Aquinas, Aristotle or Gilligan) AND one of the five principles of bioethics (autonomy, nonmaleficence, beneficence, utility or justice).

Case: Dr. Marshall Marino talks to couples every day at the fertility clinic where he works. All of his patients are there because they have infertility problems, which are usually due to one of three things: not enough sperm, not enough eggs, or problems holding the embryo in the uterus. Both partners are tested for infertility problems. Today, Dr. Marino is speaking to the Hernandezes. They have been trying to get pregnant for four years, but are still young, in their thirties. The doctor explains that Maria's ovaries are not producing eggs on a regular schedule. He suggests they begin hormone treatments as soon as possible. The hormones will stimulate the ovaries to make eggs. Mark and Maria Hernandez have done their homework, though. They read about the McCaughey septuplets born in Iowa and wonder if that might happen to them. Dr. Marino wants to be honest with all of his patients, so he explains the side effects of taking the hormone treatments. Often the ovary responds to the hormone by giving off a number of eggs at one time. If these eggs are all fertilized, the result is a multiple birth. Years ago, doctors thought they could control the dosage of the hormone and, therefore, keep the ovulation under control. This has proven not to be true. There is a chance of what are called "supertwins," that is, triplets and more. Maria thinks a multiple birth would be good. With their problems, who knows if she will ever get pregnant again? But Mark has read that the more embryos in the uterus, the more danger there is of premature birth, brain damage, and possibly death. This frightens him.
4. Read the case study below. Then, write an essay which answers the following: Would Mill say that CPR should be performed again if necessary? Why or why not? Would Kant say that it should be performed? Why or why not? Would Gilligan say it should be performed? Why or why not?

Case: Ms. Sonja Pines, an 83-year-old who suffers from liver cancer and kidney failure, is no longer able to communicate medical decisions. Her 60-year-old daughter, Sarah, is recognized as her proxy. The health-care tem believes that CPR is inappropriate for Ms. Pines and that kidney dialysis should be discontinued. In a few days, or perhaps a few weeks, she will almost certainly die. She is quite frail, so CPR would probably produce significant damage and is unlikely to be successful. If she survived CPR she would probably be brain damaged. A resident, Dr. Alice Patik, has talked with Sarah, who adamantly insists that “everything” be done for her mother. Sarah’s other family members live mostly out of town and rarely visit. They have been contacted by phone and all agree, Sarah says. Ms. Pines codes and CPR is performed. The procedure causes two broken ribs; although Ms. Pines is unable to communicate, it appears that she suffered as a result of CPR. She is placed on a ventilator. Dr. Patik thinks that the results of the CPR confirm the view of the health-care team about the harmfulness of the procedure. With good reason, Sarah believes that her mother would have died without the CPR, and this confirms her view about its importance.

5. Read the case study below. Then write an essay which says whether YOU think that the physician should report the mother to child services or not. Support your view by using TWO of the five theories we studied (Mill, Kant, Aquinas, Aristotle or Gilligan).

Case : You are a general practitioner and a mother comes into your office with her child who is complaining of flu-like symptoms. Upon entering the room, you ask the boy to remove his shirt and you notice a pattern of very distinct bruises on the boy's torso. You ask the mother where the bruises came from, and she tells you that they are from a procedure she performed on him known as "cao gio," which is also known as "coining." The procedure involves rubbing warm oils or gels on a person's skin with a coin or other flat metal object. The mother explains that cao gio is used to raise out bad blood, and improve circulation and healing. When you touch the boy's back with your stethoscope, he winces in pain from the bruises. You debate whether or not you should call Child Protective Services and report the mother.

6. Compare and contrast the theories developed by Mill, Kant and Aristotle. Tell me ways in which they are similar and different, and remember that each is trying to say what it means to be moral, so the fact that they are all ethical theories doesn't count as a similarity. Think of the standard of each and the way each one works, and that should inform your answer.
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