Study Level:College
Page Count:4
Number of sources:1
Topic:a case study report on Euthanasia
Order Number:8184
Details:Questions : Write a case study report on Euthanasia 1. Would
it have been morally right, during this long comatose period, to not
give Karen antibiotics so that she would die from infections? 2. Would
it have been wrong to give her a fatal injection? Pay Attention:
Remember that I am looking for a moral argument in these case study
reports. Apply moral principles to make the argument. Does justice
and/or utility support this approach? Do moral principles support the
idea that Euthanasia is correct action? The Case of Karen Quinlan: On
the night of April 15, 1975, for reasons still unclear, Karen Quilan
ceased breathing. She had been at a birthday party, and after a few
drinks, she had passed out. Her friends thought she must be drunk and
put her to bed. Later they found that she had stopped breathing. Her
friends gave her mouth-to-mouth resuscitation and took her to the
nearest hospital. There she had a temperature of 100 degrees, her
pupils were unreactive, and she was unresponsive even to deep pain.
Blood and urine tests showed that Karen had not consumed a dangerous
amount of alcohol. A small amount of aspirin and the tranquilizer
Valium were present, but not enough to be toxic or lethal. Why Karen
had stopped breathing was a mystery. It was clear that part of her
brain had died from oxygen deprivation. After a week of
unconsciousness, she was moved to St. Clare’s Hospital in nearby
Denville, where she was examined by Dr. Robert J. Morse, a
neurologist. Dr. Morse found that she was in a “chronic persistent
vegetative state† but not brain dead by the ordinary medical
standard. It was judged that no form of treatment could restore her to
cognitive life. Nevertheless, she was kept breathing by means of a
respirator that pumped air through a tube in her throat, and fed by
means of a nasalgastro tube. Her condition began to deteriorate. Her
weight dropped to seventy pounds, and her five-foot two-inch frame
bent into a rigid fetal position about three feet in length. After a
few months, her father, Joseph Quinlan, asked to be appointed her
legal guardian with the expressed purpose of requesting that the use
of the respirator be discontinued. Experts testified that there was a
strong likelihood that death would follow the removal of the
respirator. The lower court refused his request that the respirator be
discontinued; it said that “to do so would be homicide and an act of
euthanasia.† But in a famous decision the Supreme Court of New
Jersey granted the request on the condition that (1) attending
physicians of Joseph Quinlan’s choice conclude that there was no
reasonable possibility of Karen being restored to cognitive life, and
(2) the ethics committee of the institution where Karen was
hospitalized concurred in the physicians’ judgment. Six weeks after
the court’s decision, the respirator still had not been turned off
because the attending physicians, Dr. Robert Morse, the neurologist,
and Dr. Javed, a pulmonary internist, were reluctant to do so. After
Mr. Quinlan demanded that they remove Karen from the respirator, they
agreed to wean her slowly from the machine. Soon she was breathing
without mechanical assistance, and she was moved to a chronic care
hospital. For about ten years Karen was kept alive in the Morris View
Nursing Home with high-nutrient feedings and regular doses of
antibiotics to prevent infections. During this time, she never
regained consciousness, but sometimes she made reflexive responses to
touch and sound. After about ten years of comatose existence, Karen
Quinlan died.

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