Results for - 5 Ethical Dilemmas from 'Who Says You're Dead?'
2,285 voters participated in this survey
In his provocative new book Who Says You’re Dead?, Dr. Jacob M. Appel asks readers how they would respond to some of the medical world's most controversial ethical issues. In this survey, just for something different, how would you answer these five ethical questions. These five questions are directly quoted from the book.
1. Dr. Lydgate is a neurologist in private practice. One of her longtime patients, an airline pilot named Camille, requests that she prescribe her a stimulant, Big A, that is usually given only to patients with rare sleep disorders and narcolepsy. "All of the other pilots take it," Camille explains. "It helps us concentrate better when we're in the air." Anecdotally, Dr. Lydgate has heard from her colleagues of similar requests, and she knows that stimulants generally can improve short-term focus. Yet the medication has never been approved for this purpose and Camille is not suffering from any known neurological or concentration disorder. In short, she is asking for a medication to enhance her abilities to levels above normal rather than to correct a defect. Dr. Lydgate is confident that Camille's risk for addiction is very low and that she is telling her the truth about the reason for her request. Should Dr. Lydgate prescribe Big A to Camille?
Yes, focused pilots mean safer passengers
No, it's a dangerous precedent to set
2. During a routine session with his longtime psychiatrist, Dr. Sarah Cooper, 35-year-old Marcel confesses to a crime from his college years: While arguing with a neighbor, Olivia, over loud music, he lost his temper and shoved her. Olivia fell down Marcel's kitchen staircase and broke her neck — dying instantly. Marcel panicked and buried the body in a state park many hours away. When pressed by Dr. Cooper, he reveals the precise location. The body has never been found, and Olivia remains listed as a missing person. Dr. Cooper believes Marcel, who is now happily married and has two young children, when he swears the death was accidental. Marcel is unwilling, however, under any circumstances, to convey this information to the authorities. He forbids Dr. Cooper from doing so as well. Dr. Cooper looks up the case on the internet and discovers that Olivia's parents continue to hold out hope that she remains alive. Each year, they record a video plea for her safe return that is broadcast on the local television station. Dr. Cooper realizes that merely informing the family or the authorities anonymously that Olivia is dead will not resolve their uncertainty and will perhaps raise even more questions. Yet she fears that notifying them of the location of the body might lead them to forensic evidence that will incriminate Marcel. Should Dr. Cooper reveal the location of Olivia's body to the woman's family and/or police?
Yes, Olivia's family deserves to know what happened
No, doctor - patient confidentiality is important
3. Roy was a star Major League Baseball player. After his retirement, he develops a severe alcohol problem that leads to acute liver failure. Without a liver transplant, he will die. He is currently a patient at Legends Hospital. It is a long-standing policy at Legends, and at most (but not all) hospitals across the country, that patients must demonstrate six months of sobriety before receiving a liver transplant. This policy — which is not a law, merely a widely followed guideline — prevents active alcoholics from receiving livers, which they are likely to damage with additional drinking. Roy, unfortunately, arrived at the hospital drunk and in partial liver failure three days earlier; he cannot wait six months. Dr. Diver, the senior transplant surgeon, tells her team to list Roy as a candidate for a liver transplant. "He's an alcoholic, and he'll likely lose the liver," says Dr. Diver. "But there's always some possibility that he'll turn himself around. And if he does, do you realize what a successful transplant for a famous patient like Roy will do for organ donation? Consider how many more people will agree to be organ donors! In the long run, we'll save thousands of lives!" Is it ethical to make Roy a candidate for a liver transplant for the reasons advanced by Dr. Diver?
Yes, it could inspire thousands of organ donations
No, Roy doesn't deserve special treatment
4. Harriet (yes, this is the name used in the book -- not my doing!) and Arthur have a teenage son, Gary, who suffers from leukemia and requires a bone marrow donor. Unable to find a suitable match through existing donor databases, they decide to conceive a second child through in vitro fertilization, using new technologies to make sure this second child is a potential match. As Harriet and Arthur are already in their late forties and not prepared for a second child, they have arranged for the young married couple living next door to adopt the child. As part of the adoption agreement, it is understood that when the boy or girl is physically old enough to donate bone marrow, these neighbors will consent to the procedure on behalf of their adopted child. Is it ethical for Harriet and Arthur to make this arrangement?
Yes, it's the best way to save their child's life
No, people shouldn't be treated as commodities
5. Dr. No, a well-regarded Ivy League philosophy professor, was the leader of a sect of devout atheists who followed his creed of skepticism and self-interest. He and his followers were interested in having him cloned, so that his successor might have his exact DNA, even though the technology to clone humans was not yet available. However, Dr. No arranged to have a sample of his DNA carefully preserved in case the technology was developed someday. He also identified several young women whom he wanted to bring his cloned embryos to term. Eventually, Dr. No died. His followers remain deeply devoted to his beliefs. If scientists are able to develop the technology to clone humans, would it be ethical to fulfill the wishes of Dr. No and his followers?
Yes, it's just a different way to create humans
No, cloning is dangerous and violates human dignity
6. Just for your general interest, this is the most popular answer in each of the five situations. First question, 87% said No, it's a dangerous precedent to set, Second question, 61% said her family deserved to know, Third question, 92% said he doesn't deserve special treatment, Fourth question, 81% said people should not be treated as commodities, and last question, 73% said it's dangerous and violates human dignity. Did your answers align with the majority on these?
I was undecided for the most part