PHILOSOPHY 2202: Ethics in Medicine and the Law, Fall 2012, University of Winnipeg, MWF 9:30-10:20, Room 3BC55 Case Study: Pre-Natal Screening and Abortion You are a physician in the obstetrics unit in a medical center. Today, you are meeting with 39 year old, Mrs. Carrion, who is new to the province and whom you have never met before. The patient is four weeks pregnant and is seeking an ultra-sound, a procedure which is usually carried out, at minimum, eight weeks later into the pregnancy. Mrs. Carrion does not immediately say why she wants to have an ultra-sound, but she wants it as soon as possible. She does not indicate that she has been experiencing any difficulties, discomforts, or negative symptoms. A bit perplexed at her request, you ask Mrs. Carrion why she will not wait a few weeks when such things might be regularly done. Mrs. Carrion indicates that she wants to check the fetus’ sex as soon as possible, so as to know whether or not to terminate the pregnancy. You inform her that an ultra-sound can only detect the fetus’ sex accurately after eight more weeks of pregnancy and that alternative methods of doing so, like genetic testing, are not advisable because at this stage they carry a chance of severely harming the baby. She replies that she would like to schedule an ultra-sound, or several as necessary, at the earliest possible moment when she would be able to find out. Since Mrs. Carrion and her husband already have three daughters previously, aged 3, 5, and 9, she states that she would opt to discontinue the pregnancy if the baby was a girl. They would like to have one more child if they could be assured of having a boy. Due to her age, Mrs. Carrion does not feel that she wants to have any more pregnancies after this one, and given that she is almost 40, she does not have much time to lose. If it is a girl, both she and her husband would rather interrupt the pregnancy at an early stage and try again soon. They simply do not want another female child. You find out that the Carrions are financially well off and can definitely support more children. Mrs. Carrion even states that she will cover any expense incurred by the medical center for “bumping the line,” and to have the early ultrasound(s), so that taxpayers’ dollars are not used. Making some of your concerns known, for example, that many women risk
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- Ethics, Mrs. Carrion, Mr. Jakob