Principles of Catholic Health Care Ethics

Choose FOUR of the following cases. For EACH of the FOUR cases that you have chosen, answer the following questions (a and b):

a) Which of the Principles of Catholic Health Care Ethics (as listed on the class handout and posted on Blackboard) would apply to each of the four cases that you have chosen? List the three main principles that you see as applying to each individual case and briefly explain why each of these principles would apply. In your answers, be sure to place in bold print the names of the principles you are applying to each individual case as you explain them. [Do not copy the entire case in your response. Simply list the case number.]

b) Briefly, answer the question at the end of each case and briefly explain why you have answered the way you have.

1. Tony Doe is a 28-year-old patient at a rehabilitation facility. He has been diagnosed as being in a persistent vegetative state after injuries sustained in an accident seven years ago starved his brain of oxygen. He is tended to on a daily basis by his family. Tony receives hydration and nutrition through a nasogastric (through his nose to his stomach) tube. His medical team believes that Tony is in overall reasonable physical health. Tony’s parents have requested that the nasogastric tube should be removed and they believe that their son died on the day of the accident. However, Tony’s siblings are objecting to the request of their parents, believing that removing the feeding tube is tantamount to murder. As a bioethicist, the rehabilitation facility seeks your advice on the issue. What will you say?

2. Mary, an elderly close friend of yours, is experiencing pain due to a chronic illness she has had for the past 10 years. Given the pain she is in, she says she would rather die than to live another 10 years. She asks you to go to an internet website to research a possible concoction of drugs she could take herself to commit suicide. What do you do?

3. Cathy has wanted breast implants since the time she was fourteen-years-old. She has always just felt her chest was smaller than most girls her age. She has pleaded with her parents to allow her to have the procedure done. On Cathy’s sixteenth birthday, her parents finally cave in and decide to give Cathy breast implants as a birthday present. You are the plastic surgeon to whom Cathy has come. What would you do? If you were Cathy’s friend, what would you tell her?

4. The federal government is proposing a program that would insure health care for every citizen in the United States. Such a program, however, would mean an increase in taxes. The issue is up for a vote in a nationwide referendum. Would you support the proposal to create a program to provide health care for every citizen?

5. Bob and Tina, a married couple, have been trying to conceive naturally for years. They have decided to go to a fertility specialist, who has recommended they try in vitro fertilization. Through this process, several embryos would be created. A number of these would be placed in Tina’s uterus with the hope that one would implant. If more than one embryo were to implant, Tina plans to have a selective abortion to reduce the multiple pregnancies to one. Once they have conceived a child, Bob and Tina plan to have any remaining embryos destroyed. What would you say to Bob and Tina if they argued that, because the science is there to do this procedure, they should use it?

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