Alternative Medical Treatments: A Legal Case Study

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Imagine a scenario where a single parent has the right to make a decision for their child whether they receive a life-saving treatment or not. The parent is deemed competent and seems to understand the situation. The parent decides to refuse the treatment for their child and a physician has to decide whether to grant the refusal or reject it. I believe, based on the required reading on consent, that the philosophers Allen Buchanan and Dan W. Brock would need additional information on the scenario, such as whether there are alternative treatment options. I would agree with their view because if there is more than one treatment that will satisfy the illness, the parent should be allowed to choose any of them. I would also need to examine the …show more content…
I agree with the philosophers Buchanan and Brock that the person making the decision to go with a specific treatment should not be deemed incompetent just because they do not want the physician’s recommended treatment when there are other reasonable options (Buchanan et al. 1986, 36-38). In this scenario, the parent does not want their child to receive a specific treatment that the doctor wants to administer. It does not mention if there are other treatments that will work just as well and whether they are low or high risk. If there are indeed other medically sound treatments, then I believe that the parent has the right to choose one of the others over the one the doctor recommends. If there are no other treatments and the child will not survive without treatment, then I would look at other factors to determine why the parent would object to it and whether I believe that their decision is reasonable based on those factors. If there is no reasonable explanation of why they are refusing, then ethically I would have to override the parent’s refusal and find a way to administer the treatment to the child. Next we will look over is whether the child should be deemed competent to make their own …show more content…
I would want to make a competency determination of the child based on mental maturity being more important than physical maturity. The reason I believe the philosophers would not want to examine this is because they stated that, “Understanding also requires the ability to appreciate the nature and meaning of potential alternatives-what it would be and ‘feel’ like to be in possible future states and to undergo various experiences. In young children this is often prevented by the lack of sufficient life experience” (Buchanan et al. 1986, 25). The philosophers seem to believe that if someone is considered a child by the law, then they are not competent to make crucial medical decisions (Buchanan et al. 1986, 25). I however think that child competence should not be determined based on an age threshold, but rather with the same mental evaluation adults go through, because I believe that everyone mentally matures at a different rate depending on life experiences. Just because a child has not lived for many years, does not mean that they have not experienced essential life events that will help them decide what they want in a medical issue. It does not seem ethical to me, to allow the parent to decide that their child is not getting the life-saving treatment they need, if the child is competent and wants the treatment. That is essentially letting the parent “play

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