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Health Care Ethics, Assessment Example

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Words: 450

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  1. For my example of a scarce medical resource, I am going to use the flu vaccine, which has had shortages in the past.  If the flu vaccine were scarce, one way to use it would be to give it to those who needed it the most.  In this area, I would put people over the age of 65, healthcare workers like doctors and nurses who are exposed to the flu during the course of their work, pregnant women, and  young children (under the age of 10).  I would also include people who have asthma or people who have frequent problems with lung diseases like pneumonia or bronchitis; another group of people I would include as being first in line for the vaccine are patients with AIDS or with  conditions like cancer that can make it much easier for them to contract the flu.

Another possibility in this situation would be to vaccinate as many people as possible, regardless of need, until the supply gave out, to give people “herd immunity”: if everyone or almost everyone in a given group has been vaccinated against something, the chances of that illness spreading within the group are much lower.  In addition to this, though, we would need to do an education campaign to teach people, if the flu season is bad, to not go out to public places unless it is necessary and not to go out if they know they have the flu.

  1. Most people, regardless of how they feel about abortions for convenience, believe that some provision should be made for abortions made out of medical necessity. If a fetus is shown to have, for example, a genetic disorder like Tay Sachs (which usually results in the death of the child by age three and can include symptoms like seizures, blindness and muscle weakness), or if the child will have a severe form of Downs Syndrome that would cause them to have to live in a facility,  the burden that this would place on the parents for the care of such children is a good argument to at least give the parents the option of terminating the pregnancy.

A strong argument against this, however, would be to say that this is a form of genetic discrimination: that is, treating someone (whether unborn or not) differently because of their genetic make-up, which of course is beyond their control.  It is very much like denying health insurance to someone who has genetic markers for a given disease – such as cancer – even if they don’t have the disease itself.  Abortion, in general, is one of the most sensitive issues in the field of medical ethics and one not likely to be resolved anytime soon.

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