The Case Of Elmer Beard Essay

774 Words Nov 4th, 2014 4 Pages
I. FACTS OF THE CASE Elmer Beard is an eighty-one-year-old patient at the Methodist Hospital who is suffering from a severe stroke, which left him in a coma and permanently paralyzed. Earlier, he was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis, angina, diabetes, congestive heart symptoms, gallstones, and cancer of the prostate. Shortly after receiving this news, Elmer fell into the stroke, and was admitted into the Methodist Hospital. Although Dr. James A. Duncan stated that Elmer Beard’s visit would be short, his visit to the hospital stretched from 36 hours to six weeks. Dr. Duncan refuses to let Elmer Beard off of the respirator, and explains that Mr. Beard has “plenty of good brain left”. Wilma Beard, his seventy-six-year-old wife, is distraught that Dr. Duncan refuses to let her husband off of the respirator. Wilma believes that it is sheer torture to keep her terminally ill husband alive with artificial respiration. However, Dr. Duncan is adamant, and will not let Elmer Beard off of the respirator.
II. ETHICAL QUESTIONS TO BE ANSWERED Would it be immoral for Dr. Duncan to refuse to let terminally ill Elmer Beard off of the respirator? Would it be immoral to take Elmer Beard off of the respirator?
III. PROPOSED ANSWERS TO ETHICAL QUESTIONS Dr. Duncan’s refusal to let Elmer Beard off of the respirator would be immoral because it defiles three significant principles of Ethical Rationalism—the Principle of Assistance, the Principle of Fairness, and the…

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