essay1 - Mark Einsiedel BETH 271 February 9 2010 Dr Hyun...

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Mark Einsiedel BETH 271 February 9, 2010 Dr. Hyun The Case of Valerie and Nikolas Emerson Valerie Emerson learned she tested HIV+ while she was pregnant and further tests revealed that her son Nikolas and daughter Tia were also positive. Physicians prescribed the drug AZT for Tia and Valerie painstakingly watched for months as Tia’s health deteriorated until she died just days before her fourth birthday. Valerie attested to the fact that she could tell that “Tia knew she was dying,” but adamantly states that Nikolas shows no signs of this behavior. When physicians prescribed AZT for Nikolas, she initially agreed but later withdrew him from the AZT because of what she believed it had done to Tia. Physicians suggested that Nikolas enroll in a highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) protocol study, but Valerie refused, stating that it was her right to keep him off of drugs that could potentially harm him even more. I believe, as did the courts, that Valerie should continue to be allowed to make future medical decisions on the behalf of her son Nikolas. Valerie should be entitled to make the medical decisions for Nikolas because she has the right to make decisions through informed choice as Nikolas’ surrogate decision maker. In order for Valerie to be allowed to make these decisions, however, she must possess medical decision making capacity. Her medical decision making capacity is proven through three key elements outlined by Brock and Buchanan in Deciding for Others . [1] First, she must have the capacity for communication and understanding. The simple fact that she gave an interview on national television displays her clear ability to communicate and understand. Furthermore, she understands the implications that removing Nikolas from her care could do large scale damage to him. Second, according to Brock and Buchanan, one must have the capacity of reasoning and
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deliberation. Valerie demonstrates this throughout her interview as she provides explicit reasons she does not want Nikolas on medication and her reasoning shows that she pondered these ideas for some time. Lastly, one must have a stable set of values to fully have medical decision making capacity Brock and Buchanan say. Valerie demonstrates her values, often wearing them right on her sleeve so to say, by adamantly refusing medication for her son because of her strong held belief that it will do more harm than good. Additionally, Valerie deserves the right of patient autonomy for her and her son such
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This note was uploaded on 04/11/2010 for the course EMAE 172 taught by Professor Jimdrake during the Spring '09 term at Case Western.

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essay1 - Mark Einsiedel BETH 271 February 9 2010 Dr Hyun...

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