Cassandra C Case Ethical Dilemma

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The ethical dilemma I chose is the case of Cassandra C., a 17-year-old teenager who refused chemotherapy treatment to treat Hodgkin’s lymphoma. The problem that this case produces is a conflict between two ethical principles; respect for autonomy and beneficence. Respect for autonomy is respecting the individual’s rights to say no to a treatment if wanted to do so and beneficence is an ethical principle in which it directs doctors and physicians to strive to maximize the benefits and minimize the harms. When Cassandra declined further treatment, the doctors were confused on how to do their job and how to do it well. Cassandra is still legally a minor, which means that a parent has the right to decide on her behalf. What makes this case remarkable …show more content…
Cassandra was forced to have chemotherapy treatment. The medical side is saying that Cassandra should continue to have chemotherapy forced upon her because of the high chances of good health in the future while Cassandra’s lawyers say that she has the right to refuse treatment because she is mature and is old enough to make her own decisions. The courts are trying to find an answer to this question, “Newborns and young children cannot make such judgments for themselves, but what about a teen who will reach the age of majority within a year?” (Macklin, Ruth. "The Ethical Dilemma of Forced Chemotherapy on a Teen." The Huffington Post., …show more content…
Ethical Egoism is the prescriptive theory that tells us in order to act moral, you should only act in your own self-interest. For whatever reason Cassandra has to reject the continuance of treatment, she was acting in her own self-interest. If Cassandra dies because of her actions, she will hurt many people, including her mother who stood up for Cassandra’s decision. But what Ethical Egoism states is that her actions were moral because Cassandra did refuse the treatment in her own self-interest. So regardless of how many people are crying at her funeral due to her actions, Cassandra’s actions were moral according to Ethical Egoism. Ayn Rand would agree with Cassandra’s actions because Ayn Rand believes that you should be thinking only about yourself and if you do so, everything will be fine. Utilitarianism is on the complete opposite side of the spectrum in this case. Utilitarianism says that an action is moral if it increases the happiness of the greatest number of people. Although, Cassandra and her mother might not be happy with the chemotherapy being forced upon her, many others will receive some happiness if Cassandra stays alive. Her mother would also be included in this number of people receiving happiness from Cassandra staying alive, and possibly, Cassandra might be thankful in the future for having her life saved. So, in the future and according to Utilitarianism, forcing chemotherapy on

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