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Religion and Theology - Essay Example

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The principle or rule of double effect deals with a series of ethical standards, used to assess the acceptability of an act which would otherwise be legitimate but may also lead to certain undesirable outcomes. …
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Religion and Theology
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[Supervisor Religion and Theology PART A The principle or rule of double effect deals with a series of ethical standards, used to assess the acceptability of an act which would otherwise be legitimate but may also lead to certain undesirable outcomes. In other words, it could be stated that a certain action whose intentional outcomes are good is permissible although it might lead to unintentional harmful consequences, considered as a side effect. However there are certain conditions that must be fulfilled. 1. Nature of an action which says that the action should be either ethically indifferent or it should be good. 2. Means-end condition which says that the worse consequences of an action should not be the means to get the good result. 3. The intention should always be right i.e., the action should be intended to bear good results and the worse outcomes should always be unintended and considered as a side effect. 4. Proportionality condition that requires that the good outcomes of an action must weigh proportional to the bad ones. One of the best examples of application of this principle can be the doctor’s verdict to increase the dosage of anodyne, such as Morphine, to sooth the pain of a critically ill patient. Although the doctor knows that the increased dosage may be lethal. This doctrine suggests this act to be ethical as the doctor’s intentions are to ease the pain of patient and not to let him die. This particular example can be explained by considering the conditions of PDE. The doctor’s intention is to ease out the pain, so it fulfills the first condition, as the nature of the action is good. The doctor isn’t using Morphine to let the patient die and ultimately relieved from his sufferings but to ease out his pain. Thus the doctor does not intend to harm the person in order to relieve him, but the harm that may result is the outcome of his decision for the good of patient. It fulfills the third condition that the harmful outcome is not the means to achieve good but a side effect of an intended good act. However, if the dosage is lethal enough that the patient dies ultimately then this act can’t be justified as easing of pain (the good intended) doesn’t outweigh the death (the bad side effect) and the proportionality condition is not met. 2. Part B 1. The categorical imperative suggests that the moral law is the only imperative that directs us unconditionally. In other words act on an aphorism that can be held as a universal law and if it can’t qualify, it will be immoral. The other formulation of Kant’s categorical imperative is to treat humanity always as an end, not solely as a means to end. These two formulations can be explained by quoting an example. If one needs money but also is aware of the fact that he will be unable to repay money if borrowed. In such a case if he falsely promises to a person in order to borrow money. This act can be judged by using the two formulations. If this act becomes universal law then no one will ever lend money to other person as a breach of trust results. Moreover, getting money thru deceiving a person shows that the lender has been treated as a means to satisfy one’s own need. Therefore, such an act can’t be considered moral in either way. Considering another scenario where an experimental drug protocol uses a “new” drug along with a placebo instead of, the “drug X” regimen, the prevalent care standard. Analyzing this act of medical practitioners on the basis of categorical imperative does not require foreseeing the after effects and the nature of the act but to see the universality of the act and the dignity of humanity being undermined. Since treating a patient in such a way to test a new formulation instead of using standard treatment, can’t be applied always. Thus this act loses its universal application and could be termed to be immoral and unethical. Considering the second formulation in this case, treating a patient with a new drug in order to test that drug’s effectiveness is showing disrespect to humanity and treating the patient as a means to an end. Thus this act of the medical practitioner is immoral in context to Kant’s ethics. 3. Informed consent is a process that involves complete participation of a well informed patient in the decisions regarding his own well being. It is based upon the principles of bioethics, profoundly autonomy and justice (Shannon and Kockler). It is not only the moral duty of the Physician to involve the patient in decisions that are solely related to his body and wellbeing but also the inherent right of the patient. A comprehensive informed consent usually involves discussion of the natures of decision, reasonable substitutes to the anticipated involvement, the relevant benefits, risks and doubts related to each alternative, the assessment of patients understanding and the approval of any intervention by the patient. The importance of informed consent can be explained by the example of Henrietta Lacks. She was an Afro-American poor lady. In 1950s her cells were taken without consent like many others, while being treated for cervical cancer. Informed consent is important for the medical practitioners while delivering their services as these days most of the Americans’ tissues are stored without their acknowledgment, to be used in medical research. These samples are taken during routine procedures like circumcisions, fetal genetic-disease screening etc. Although the research purpose is to explore the medical science for the benefit of mankind and people may not to hinder it, but they should be interested in knowing when their tissues are extracted and reserved for further study. The story of Henrietta Lacks opened debates regarding bioethics, as the benefit gained thru such work isn’t available for all corners of the society. The principles of justice and autonomy, both are neglected in this case (Skloot). An uninformed consent differs from an informed consent in a way that the risks associated with medical procedures are kept hidden from the patient, although their consent might have been taken before going thru the medical procedure. It is completely an unethical practice and usually results in worse consequences. Matching Ethical Systems Concerns Relativism Non-interference Deontology Self preservation, duties and obligations and murder Virtue ethics Right reason about what must be done, character Consequentialism Greatest good for greatest numbers, self interest and ends may justify means Principles of biomedical ethics Autonomy, beneficence, non-malaficence, its right for me and informed consent PDE Pain relief, amputation and proportionate reason Natural law Procreation and child rearing, practicability Context based ethics/ Social teaching Decalogue, coherence, common good, solidarity, consistency and liberation theology Criteria to test an ethical system: Ethics involves deciding the right course of action. Although there are no definite criteria to test an ethical system, however the application of an ethical system on a moral dilemma helps in the evaluation of that ethical system. Ethical system that helps in deciding the right way in the best way is associated with those moral concerns. References Shannon, Thomas A and Kockler, Nicholas J. “An Introduction to Bioethics.” 4th revised Ed. New York: Paulist Press, 2009. Print. Skloot, Rebecca. “Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks.” Pan MacMillan, 2010. Print. Read More
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