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Medical Ethics - Essay Example

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Medical Ethics

Forceful circumstances that can dictate the amputation of limbs include stopping the spread of a certain condition like malignant cancer to other parts of the body, serious diabetes or an extensively fractured/damaged leg. However, some people may demand such a medical operation despite their perfect state of health. An example is a person with a rational desire to have one of their perfectly healthy limbs amputated. In such a case, serious issues in the field of medical ethics have to be considered before the physicians can go ahead with the amputation or reject this request. The aim of this paper is to give an argument that physicians have a moral reason to permit the individual to go through with the amputation. The second part of the paper gives an objection to this argument followed by a justification of the stronger argument. Argument in support for the amputation as a moral duty One of the critical ethical issues to be considered in the case of such a request is patient autonomy. First of all, it is very true to say that every person has the right to do whatever they want with their bodies. This is because the issue of personal autonomy has to be respected. In fact, it is one of the ethical principles in the medical field. Despite this, any request concerning medical procedures that comes directly from the patient has to indicate some rationality behind it. In this case, the patient has expressed a rational desire to have their perfectly healthy limb amputated. Despite being a rational desire, the request has higher chances of being granted if it expresses the person’s autonomy. In order to arrive at a good conclusion regarding this case, it is important to make a thorough examination of the concept of rational desires and how they relate to personal autonomy. Savulescu made a distinction between desires and rational desires. According to him, a rational desire is a desire that a person expresses while in possession of all relevant facts while "vividly imagining" what its consequences would be for them. At the time of its expression, the person should not commit any relevant error of logic as well (Savulescu a 121). Savulescu goes ahead to explain that a desire must be a rational desire or satisfy a person's rational desires for it to be treated as an expression of the person's autonomy. The principle of autonomy has a big role in the medical field hence it is a general requirement that physicians should respect the autonomous choices of their patients. According to Beauchamp and Childress (99), autonomy can be described as self-rule, that is, free from limitations such as limited understanding, that may prevent rational/meaningful choices, and controlling inferences from other persons. From this description, it is clear that autonomy is complete if the person is in a position to make meaningful or rational choices. These choices are later expressed as rational desires. In other words, the expression of rational desires is the practice of personal autonomy. On the other hand, autonomy is the expression of such rational demands. This means the concepts of rational desires and autonomy are inseparable. Instead, they are an expression of each other. This means any decision made within the boundaries of informed consent is a guided by both a respect to the rational autonomy of a person and their rational desires. Going against this informed consent will therefore ...Show more


Medical Ethics Under normal circumstances, medical operations are carried out on individuals with medical conditions like injuries or diseases. These conditions prompt the performance of medical procedures in order to treat the disease or correct a situation hence saving the life as well as the quality of life of the person…
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Medical Ethics essay example
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