Case Study Analysis: Ethical Issues - Essay Example

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Case Study Analysis:  Ethical Issues (Add (Add (Add Date) Case Study Analysis:  Ethical Issues 1. The given case study addresses compelling rights of a minor patient, his parents, and physicians. In this case context, Tyrell Dueck (the 14 year old patient) and his parents refuses the medically prescribed leg amputation on the ground of their religious beliefs…
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Case Study Analysis: Ethical Issues
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Case Study Analysis:  Ethical Issues (Add (Add (Add Case Study Analysis:  Ethical Issues The given case study addresses compelling rights of a minor patient, his parents, and physicians. In this case context, Tyrell Dueck (the 14 year old patient) and his parents refuses the medically prescribed leg amputation on the ground of their religious beliefs. As the US Constitution allows citizens to freely exercise their religious beliefs, the government does not restrict people from refusing medication on the ground of religious perceptions. Earlier, the US government did not allow minor patients to refuse medication as they were seemed incompetent to make a potential decision. However, the government changed its laws regarding the rights of minor patients recently; and at present, a competent minor patient has the right to refuse any treatment proposed for him. In addition, parents have many rights over their children, especially when their child is a minor. The case scenario clearly tells that Tyrell is a competent 14 year old boy and he and his parents are devout fundamentalist Christians. They jointly decided to refuse the planned leg amputation and leave his death in God’s hands. Similarly, physicians have also a set of rights over their patients. A physician has the ultimate right to decide which treatment option would be the best for a particular patient. Hence, the case reflects various stakeholders’ rights from different perspectives. 2. From my view point, the rights of Tyrell’s parents should take precedence since US constitutional rights allow parents to make decisions on behalf of their children. “The US Supreme Court recognized that parents possess the requisite knowledge and experience to make decisions for their children” (as cited in O’Connor, 2009). Hence, it must be noted that the parents’ decision is not against Tyrell’s interest. Rather, they together took this treatment refusal decision so as to serve their religious faith. As Forsloff (2009) points out, the US law allows fundamentalist Christians to refuse medication as long as they are capable of taking a sound decision. Although this law is not applicable in case of minors, the case context clears that Tyrell is mentally competent enough to make a sound decision. Tyrell does not wish to undergo the leg amputation process and his decision is supported by his parents. Although this decision is obviously likely to threaten Tyrell’s life, the treating physicians do not have the right to overrule the decision made by Tyrell and his parents. Hence, here the health care team cannot execute its planned leg amputation process even though this treatment option is obviously better for Tyrell. 3. Normally, a child does not have the right to determine what will happen to him. However, under certain circumstances, the US law allows a minor to refuse any type of medication. The ‘mature minor’ doctrine was evolved as a result of many hot debates over minors’ right to refuse medication. As O’Connor (2009) describes, according to this doctrine, some minors are competent enough to assess different treatment options and make sound decisions; and although courts allow mature minors to refuse treatment options, none of these courts has set a specific age limit above which a child can be considered as a mature minor. Hence, there are still many ambiguities regarding whether or not a child should be considered as a mature minor. According to the scenario, Tyrell is competent, and hence, he has the mental ability to evaluate his health condition and thereby accept or refuse the planned leg amputation process. Ethically, Tyrell must be entitled to enjoy this right. The case study reflects that Tyrell is a 14 years old boy and hence it is a tough option for him to live the remaining life without one leg. Therefore, Tyrell should have the right to refuse the planned amputation and seek for other alternative therapies. 4. If the state of Tyrell’s disease had not intervened by the doctors, the dispute on amputation might have prolonged a bit until Tyrell wins his position. Admittedly, leg amputation process was the only option to prevent the spread of cancer and thereby save Tyrell’s life. However, the US constitution gives him the right to refuse this treatment procedure on the ground of his religious belief. Since Tyrell has attained the mature minor status, he is competent to make a sound decision about his health. In addition, his decision has been supported by his parents and therefore the health care team does not have the authority to overrule the patient’s decision. Furthermore, a forcible amputation process would adversely affect Tyrell’s psychological as well as emotional developmental needs. Hence, I do not think that the final outcome would be different even if the state of his disease had not intervened. References Forsloff, C. (2009). Religion and the refusal of medical treatment: Rights and responsibilities. Yahoo Voices. Retrieved from O’Connor, C. M. (2009). What rights do minors have to refuse medical treatment?. The Journal of Lancaster General Hospital, 4(2), 63-65. Read More
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