Medical Ethics Dilemma

Compose 2-3 pages in which you respond to a medical ethics dilemma.

Ethics is about doing what is right. Traditional normative theories express this goal in one of three ways:

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  • Virtue Ethics
    • Seek personal excellence by cultivating virtuous habits.
    • Aristotle: Achieve self-sufficiency through moderation.
  • Deontological Ethics
    • Do your duty by following the rules.
    • Kant: Act as any rational agent is bound by universal law.
  • Consequentialist Ethics
    • Try to make the world a better place by producing good outcomes.
    • Mill: Generate more pleasure and less pain for everyone.

Applying ethical theories to everyday life is not easy, as we consider virtues, duties, and results:

  • Virtue Ethics
    • Strengths: Respect for people, moral education, continuing progress.
    • Problems: No direct advice for specific situations, excuse for self-serving.
  • Deontological Ethics
    • Strengths: Simple application of rules, avoid personal responsibility.
    • Problems: Rigidly strict, conflicting rules, sometimes bad consequences.
  • Consequentialist Ethics
    • Strengths: Flexibility in circumstances, outcomes publicly discernible.
    • Problems: Hard to predict results accurately, especially over the long run.

Using all three is fine, but we need to think through how they cohere or diverge.

To deepen your understanding, you are encouraged to consider the questions below and discuss them with a fellow learner, a work associate, an interested friend, or a member of the business community.

As you think about applying ethical theory, consider addressing one of the following questions:

  • Which of the three approaches to ethical theory makes the most sense, and why?
  • When might Aristotle, Kant, and Mill disagree about how to handle a specific case?
  • What theoretical approach are

Assessment Overview

You have now studied the three approaches to ethical theory (deontological, consequentialist, and virtue theory) as exemplified in the work of Immanuel Kant, John Stuart Mill, and Aristotle. Your assessment is to write an essay applying these three approaches to the following practical case:

You are called to consult in the critical care unit of your local hospital. The hospital admits JoEllen, 53, after she takes an overdose of prescription medications with alcohol. On admission, she says, “Not supposed to be here . . . ” and soon becomes uncommunicative. As her condition deteriorates rapidly, her son arrives with a notarized advance directive in which JoEllen specifically asks not to be placed on life support. What should you recommend to the attending health professionals?

Assessment Instructions

As you write your essay, consider how you would achieve the following:

  • Explain the ethical issue in this scenario.
  • Apply the three traditional theories of normative ethics to this situation.
  • Describe the advantages and disadvantages of the three theories as they relate to this situation.
  • Apply ethical theory to justify your stance on the right thing to do in this situation.

Your instructor may provide video feedback on your work, as well as complete the official scoring guide for the assessment.

Additional Requirements

  • Written communication: Ensure written communication is free of errors that detract from the overall message.
  • APA formatting: Format resources and citations according to current APA style guidelines.
  • Number of resources: Use your judgment to ensure your topic is thoroughly researched. There is no minimum number of resources required.
  • Length of paper: Submit 2-3 typed, double-spaced pages.
  • Font and font size: Use Arial, 12-point font.

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