Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Medical Dilemmas, issues of research and ethics

(Note: This article is just for essay ideas.)

The medical cases where the possible alternatives are questionable can be termed as medical dilemmas. For example, a decision regarding whether to save the mother or the child when only one can be saved during a delivery is a simple example of medical dilemma. Whichever is chosen, one life has to be sacrificed.

Another example of such a dilemma is euthanasia. To make a case on this, let us suppose a last stage cancer patient. She might be receiving treatments like radiotherapy and chemotherapy, but her death is almost certain although it can be postponed a bit further. Or let us suppose further that the doctor has declared her condition to be incurable. Cancer is a painful disease both for the patients and her caretaker. The patient is suffering badly and wants to die as soon as possible rather than to wait for the natural death suffering the pain.

However, killing her is a crime by law. What should be done in such a case? Euthanasia refers to mercy killing, and it refers to giving an injection which leads to the painless death of such dying patients. However, should the patient be allowed to die on his own will or should she be forced to suffer until she dies? Either option is inhumane. We, as an outsider, can neither see her in pain, nor kill her to eradicate her pain at the soonest if we are ethical. This kind of situation is a medical dilemma.

Here is an external link to yet another example of such a dilemma:

In short, the story in the above link reads like this: Two children were born with both sex organs and the parents and doctors decided to remove their male genital organs by surgery and choose to make them females. As a result, they were forced to be like a girl and act like a girl. Unfortunately, after puberty they developed male characteristics and thus, found difficult to act like female. Consequently, their life is almost ruined.

Now, should the parents have left their children with both male and female sex organs? or Should they have chosen one gender for them and tried to cure their abnormalities? While at first the second choice seems to be justifiable, it has been proved to be wrong many years later. This follows that neither of these options are completely acceptable. And there are no other alternatives beside these two. Thus, this issues is also the case of a serious medical dilemma.

Similarly, there is another such case in this BBC page:
These are the samples of many cases in which the medicine industry faces dilemmas or uncertainty about what to do. The solutions at disposable are not the complete and satisfactory ones. Therefore, more research is needed in such areas and acute care should be taken in policy-making. For instance, if euthanasia is legalized, it leaves the room for its misuse and therefore, no loopholes should be left in legislation to avoid such misuses.

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