Virtue Ethics And Virtue Ethics In Dax Cowart's Case

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Dax Cowart and his father were involved in accident involving a car explosion and fire. His father died on his way to the hospital and Dax’s body was severely burned. He explains not wanting to live in the condition he was in and wanted to end his life. He continually asked the doctors to discontinue treatment and allow him to die. Cowart was declared competent to refuse treatment but no one would fight his case. He ended up surviving his severe burn injuries, which made him depressed and suicidal. In the end, he became a successful lawyer, fighting for client’s who had sustain horrible injuries, similar to his. His case has been highly debated over the years in the field of medical ethics. Many wonder if Dax was of sound enough mind to refuse …show more content…
They believed that because there was a good chance of saving Dax’s life, they should continue with treatment instead of “letting him die.” The doctors were making their decision based on virtue ethics. They were doing what they thought was morally right and thus that they were making the morally right decision. Virtue ethics focuses on whether or not one’s actions reflect their inner morality (Hursthouse, 2013). As stated prior, the doctors that were treating Dax could not bring themselves to “let him die” because that went against what they believed was morally right. These doctors could have had another doctor step in and allow Dax to die as he wished, but instead believed it was their duty to treat him and heal him. The doctors made their decisions based on virtue ethics, and because of that Dax’s life was …show more content…
Ultimately, the doctors should have followed Dax’s wish to die, especially since he repeated it on multiple occasions and at different stages of the recovery process. Deontology would be the best way to understand this reasoning. The doctors should have followed the action that was morally right rather than thinking about the potential outcomes of their actions. If they would have followed Dax’s wishes initially and provided him with comfort cares and allowed him to have a “good death”, which he has the right to, then they would have been doing the morally right action and following patient autonomy. This would have ultimately led to Dax’s death, but it would have been what the patient wanted. In today’s day and age, patient rights are highly considered in every medical decision. The patient has the right to refuse treatment, even if that action may result in a poor prognosis. This is seen often with dialysis patients. If a dialysis patient chooses to stop going to dialysis, they will ultimately die, but if they do not wish to live that way anymore and refuse to go, healthcare providers cannot force the patient to continue on dialysis and eventually need to help the patient in determining end of life care. If Dax’s case would have happened today, his autonomy would most likely be respected and comfort cares would be put in place and he would have died. Conclusively, a patient has rights and those rights need to be

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