Essay on The Case At The Memorial Medical Center

Essay on The Case At The Memorial Medical Center

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According to the information from Sheri Fink’s New York Times article, in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, the Memorial Medical Center was running low on resources with care administered by exhausted doctors and nurses. In the sustained process of waiting for help and evacuations, Anna Pou, Ewing Cook, and the other doctors at the Memorial Medical Center made the controversial decision to inject several patients with drugs, which, at extraordinary high doses, are known to lead to death. In this situation, the patients who were in question were those who doctors designated as very ill and had the lowest chance for survival. While we have examined many hypothetical thought experiments to delve deeper in the discussion of end-of-life ethics, the case at the Memorial Medical Center demonstrates a situation in which the right choices were not made. Instead, if informed consent was not given, the doctors should not inject those patients with lethal doses and instead should have provided care until help arrived or until the patient died of their condition.
First, I would argue that regardless of the stated intent, injecting patients with the high doses of drugs, like morphine and midazolam, is a form of killing, specifically considered involuntary euthanasia (Fink). Involuntary euthanasia means killing a person who did not want to die or were not asked to provide consent, even though they were able to provide consent, for the sake of reducing pain the suffering (Shogry). Essentially, involuntary euthanasia is killing against the patient’s will or without their knowledge. Doctors regularly use morphine and midazolam to make patients comfortable because these drugs are used for pain control and sedation for medical procedures (Fink). ...

... middle of paper ...

...low them to have a life and autonomy to choose not to die by the doctors’ needle.
To address what the doctors could have done differently, they could have cared for the patients normally and allowed the patients to live until help arrived or the patients died of preexisting conditions. If the patient does complain of pain and suffering, the doctors could have administered normal doses of morphine to solely alleviate pain and not to hasten death. As mentioned earlier, if resources were an issue, the patients could just have been left to fight for their own life because they did not have to die for the doctors to tend to other patients. In conclusion, the doctors at the Memorial Medical Center did not make the right decision to inject their patients with lethal doses of drugs, because their actions equated to involuntary euthanasia, and should be considered murder.

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