Double Effect Case Study

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In regards to the Anna Pou case, I think that I would have made a similar decision with the information that Dr. Pou had at the time. In our textbook, it states that the remaining staff after Hurricane Katrina believed that “no further evacuation or help was coming to them (Pence 56).” Therefore, the staff decided to euthanize the remaining nine patients to avoid any unnecessary pain and suffering. Prior to making this decision, I would have contacted the administrators of Memorial Hospital and the parent organization of the hospital (LifeCare) in order to find a way to accommodate these patients without euthanasia. The lack of communication between the parent organization and the hospital staff seemed to be a defining factor with this case …show more content…
Even if the person thought that this bad effect could possibly occur, it is still an ethically sound action because that person was not intentionally aiming to cause harm. The bad effect was simply the unintended result of a good act. Some factors that are involved in the doctrine of double effect include: the action must be good or indifferent, the good action must not intend any evil, the good effect must not be produced by means of the evil effect, and there must be a proportionate compensation for allowing the bad effect to occur (McIntyre …show more content…
Overall, it seemed that Dr. Pou’s intentions were not to kill her patients, but instead to ease their mind and bodies during this stressful/dire time. Therefore, since she intended to relieve distressing symptoms from her patients and not to intentionally harm them, then her good action to help these patients would be ethically sound. When she chose to administer the morphine to the remaining patients, she may have foreseen that this could shorten the patient’s life, but her action was ethically sound due to the fact that she was not directly aiming at killing these patients. According to the factors that were discussed in the Stanford article on the Doctrine of Double Effect, the action was considered good, the bad effect was not intentional, and the good effect was a direct result of the good action. Although her actions cover three of the four conditions discussed in this article, I am unable to judge whether or not the good effect was sufficient enough to compensate for allowing these patients to die. I think that her intentions were very good, but I don’t know if the good effect compensates for these patients dying due to the fact that they could have been saved. If there was more communication between the hospital staff and administrator/parent organization, it is possible that this all could have been avoided, so I am unable to judge the last condition. Overall, I

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