Brophy Case Study


Examples of people that could become included in such laws would include those with Down's Syndrome, the autistic, the paraplegic, the quadriplegic and so forth. Taken to the extreme, the paradigm could include the socially unproductive, the ideologically unwanted, the racially unwanted and so forth. If one is noticing a pattern here, that person would be correct because this is precisely what the Nazi euthanasia program and general eugenics proponents would suggest. Noted scholar on the subject of euthanasia Alex Schadenberg, who wrote the book Exposing Vulnerable People to Euthanasia & Assisted Suicide, notes that "the idea that there are lives unworthy to believed is dangerous." He continues by saying "the slippery slope is not imaginary. It exists -- and despite the efforts of euthanasia supporters, it cannot be wished away."

Before concluding this report, there shall be an assessment and review of both justice and beneficence as it relates to the Brophy, Schiavo and similar cases. When it comes to people with no advanced directives but yet a seemingly impossible decision like whether or not removing a feeding tube of someone in a vegetative state is moral or acceptable, the concepts of justice and beneficence come into play. Two terms that were bandied about, and still are, relative to Schiavo's case and ones like it is the ethics of justice vs. The ethics of care. Some argued that she was in surely in a private hell given that she was in that vegetative state for more than a decade. Beyond that, her chances of recovery were zero. While effectively starving someone is something that would give some people pause, a continued life of non-existence and nothingness is something very few people believed Schiavo would want if she were able to make that choice. The hard part of defining justice in this case is that there is no way to truly know for sure. Regardless, the removal of the feeding tube was seemingly the right call given the totality of what was known and what was not known (Hodges et al., 2006). As far as beneficence goes, the term is just another way of saying "benefiting." The ideas of justice and beneficence relating to the removal of Terri Schiavo's feeding tube are often seen as being two sides of the same coin. Schiavo surely did not benefit by having her life continued artificially. While she was not terminally ill, her life as she knew it was over. Letting her go was the best way to benefit it her as keeping her alive was of no real benefit to Terri (Johnson, 2006).


In the end, Brophy was eventually transferred to a different hospital that was not unwilling to remove the feeding tube. He was transferred, the feeding tube was remove and Brophy died in 1986. While the field of bioethics may deem that imposing morality, religion and ethics of any form on others is wrong, it is also very valid for medical professionals and others to act under the "do no harm" principle, to fear liability for acting in a way that ends someone's life and so forth


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