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Ethical Issues on Electroconvulsive Therapy (Children with Autism/Disabilities) - Research Paper Example

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Ethical Issues on Electroconvulsive Therapy (Children with Autism/Disabilities)

More specifically, the paper would focus on the use Electroconvulsive Therapy on children with disabilities and autism. The paper would also shed some light on case study regarding the same, which would serve as a way to explore the subject. Discussion One of the biggest ethical issues related to the use of ECT for children with disabilities and autism lies in the fact that, as we know, that children are neurologically weak and their nerves and brain cells remain in the process of growth and development during their early ages of life. Children continue to develop their cognitive and motor abilities during their childhood. There are various cases in the medical history where children receiving even a slight injury on their skill during childhood have gone to lose their ability to memorize, think or the injury ends up disturbing other functions performed their brain. This problem amplifies even further while dealing with children who have special needs or children with autism. Their brains and neurological structures are even weaker than that of adults and their ability to bear pain is lesser. Therefore, critics of ECT argue that it is not ethically and morally correct to put a child through so considering the fact that the child is already suffering from some imparity in the brain (Beyer, Weiner & Glenn, 1998). Until this point in time, there is no authentic and reliable controlled study, which could prove that ECT provides positive impact beyond four weeks on children suffering from autism or any other form of disability. A significant majority of these studies has shown no effect at all and the ones, which have shown positive impact, the impact was not dramatic or anywhere comparable to the energy and enthusiasm of the advocates (Kerridge, Lowe, & McPhee, 2005). Furthermore, as mentioned earlier, that the positive effect seems to waive off after four weeks. Important here to note is that four weeks is the minimum time required to recover from any induced acute organic brain syndrome, which confirms the risks of ECT. Most of the opponents of ECT put a lot of emphasis on this effectiveness period of four weeks in calculating the cost benefit ratio of ECT (Ottosson & Fink, 2004). Furthermore, even if there are any studies or individual instances where ECT has worked for autistic and disabled children then those studies or instances are not reliable or credible enough. A study conducted in Larue D. Carter Memorial Hospital and Indiana University School of Medicine in the year 2004 confirms the opinion that Electroconvulsive Therapy may have a slight impact on preventing suicides with patients in the short term but there was no evidence that it has any impact at all in the long run (Kerridge, Lowe, & McPhee, 2005). The study targeted “1494 adult hospitalized psychiatric patients for 5-7 years. During this time, 76 people out of this population die and 21 percent out of these people committed suicide” (Kerridge, Lowe, & McPhee, 2005; Green & Bloch, 2006). The study showed that 16 people who had committed suicide out of this population were more opt to receiving ECT treatments as compared to others. Treatments of ECT may have ensured their short-term survival but in long run, these people were even more likely to commit suicide. It is also important to note here that it is extremely difficult to find out “ ...Show more


Running Head: Ethical Issues in Electroconvulsive Therapy Ethical Issues in Electroconvulsive Therapy Ethical Issues in Electroconvulsive Therapy Introduction This paper is an attempt to explore the ethical debate surrounding the use of Electroconvulsive Therapy (ECT)…
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Ethical Issues on Electroconvulsive Therapy (Children with Autism/Disabilities) essay example
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