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Find a story to write about and analyze the story - Essay Example

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Name of Professor The Right to Preserve Life and the Right to Avoid Harm: The Conflict in Williams’s The Use of Force The Use of Force by William Carlos Williams, at first glance, seems to be a simple, straightforward story about a doctor treating a sick child…
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Download file to see previous pages What makes the conflict more complicated is the age gap of the major people involved—the adult doctor and the ill child. Apparently, the child has no power to refuse medication; the right to resist is in the hands of her parents. But what happens if there is an element of harm involved? What if the child knows that she will feel pain or get hurt by the medical procedure based on previous experience? Is it still unjustifiable to allow the child to decide for herself? And, most importantly, is the use of force justified in a situation wherein a child with a possible life-threatening illness is uncooperative? It is a common knowledge that doctors are the people to go to in cases of life-threatening illnesses. These doctors avowed to the duty to preserve life. However, this duty has its limitations. The fatally ill patient has the right to resist medication, especially if s/he knows that it will bring him/her pain or harm. But what if the patient does not have the decisional capacity, like a child? The release for consent goes to the parents or guardians of the child. In the story, the child’s parents obviously permitted medical intervention. However, the mother tried self-medicating her child first, and when her methods did not work, she and her husband decided to call a doctor. This fact alone shows how helpless the situation of the child is, which forcibly places her at the mercy of her parents’ decisions. It is obviously against the child’s will to call the doctor. Even at the very beginning of the incident, the child already showed signs of distress when the doctor arrived: “the child was fairly eating me up with her cold, steady eyes, and no expression to her face whatever. She did not move and seemed inwardly, quiet…. But her face was flushed, she was breathing rapidly, and I realized that she had a high fever” (par. 4). This observation alone may suggest that the child felt frightened seeing the doctor. As the story goes on, the resistances of the child becomes stronger. Despite of the reprimands of her parents, she continues to fight back and refuse medication. The child, as a human being, and not as an individual with adequate decisional capacity, is fighting for her right to avoid pain. Obviously, the child associates the image of a doctor with pain. She proves this when she shouts in frustration, “Don’t, you’re hurting me. Let go of my hands…. Stop it! Stop it! You’re killing me!” (par. 25) By firmly resisting, the child affirms her right to avoid pain, and her power to sway the decision of her parents. By showing them that she does not want to be treated medically, and that she is being hurt in the process, she effectively forces her parents to rethink their decision about the matter. Her mother finally said: “Do you think she can stand it, doctor!” (par. 26) Likewise, her father seems to begin to falter: “The father tried his best, and he was a big man but the fact that she was his daughter, his shame at her behavior and his dread of hurting her made him release her just at the critical times…” (par. 23) But the doctor did not waver and insisted that he has to get a throat culture to save her from a possible fatal disease. While the child is fighting for her right to avoid pain, the doctor is strongly fighting for his professional oath—to preserve life. The doctor is trying his best to keep calm because he knows he has to fulfill his ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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