Talk:List of medical ethics cases

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Purpose of this list[edit]

There is a template called Template:Medical ethics cases. It lists a lot of cases but it has limited use to anyone who is not already familiar with case names. I created this list so that the cases in that template could easily be sorted by date, country, or potentially in other ways. Also this list allows cases to have references. Blue Rasberry (talk) 18:38, 15 March 2012 (UTC) Right now everything in this list is on that template. I think that anything put on one ought to be on the other also. Blue Rasberry (talk) 22:00, 16 March 2012 (UTC)

Sorting of cases[edit]

I just did something novel - I summarized all the cases then sorted them by theme. The four themes I chose are

  • Person wishes for assisted suicide
  • Person wishes for euthanasia for another
  • Physician wishes to act against patient's wishes
  • Research

In some instances, a case matched two themes, and I chose the one I thought was best. The list sorting is not perfect, but I think it is preferable to sort them in some way rather than leave this long list entirely unsorted. Blue Rasberry (talk) 19:41, 15 March 2012 (UTC)

Research in the course of treatment versus pure research[edit]

I am not sure if a distinction should be made now, but if this list were to ever got so long as to justify further splitting, I think that cases which happened during the course of treatment of a patient versus cases which were engineered for research only could be split. Blue Rasberry (talk) 16:05, 22 September 2012 (UTC)

David Vetter[edit]

I couldn't see anything in David Vetter to indicate that the physicians acted against the patient's wishes. DH85868993 (talk) 07:08, 25 September 2012 (UTC)

The controversy in these cases is usually someone saying something like "With the exceedingly large amount of publicly-shared resources we are spending to keep this doomed person alive we could be helping a huge number of other people who are not doomed". I would expect there to be sources somewhere about the costs in this high-profile case, but if nothing comes up then feel free to remove it. Blue Rasberry (talk) 11:18, 25 September 2012 (UTC)
I think the David Vetter case belongs in the list (and template); I was really questioning whether it belongs in the "physicians acting against the patient's wishes" group. Perhaps we need an "Others" group for cases which don't fit into any of the four existing groups? DH85868993 (talk) 14:34, 25 September 2012 (UTC)
He is in the "patients acting against physicians' advice", and not the other way. It is my understanding that there was controversy on the physicians' side about keeping someone in such extreme treatment. I support the creation of a new group but not when it has to use a non-specific name like "others" and not if this is the only member of the group. I also do not like a lot about these lists, but right now I am not convinced that an "others" category is better. Blue Rasberry (talk) 16:38, 25 September 2012 (UTC)
It is my understanding that there was controversy on the physicians' side about keeping someone in such extreme treatment. That wasn't clear to me from reading the article (perhaps I didn't read it closely enough). In that case he's fine to stay in the existing group. DH85868993 (talk) 07:36, 27 September 2012 (UTC)
I have not read the sources closely; I could be wrong, but I would be surprised if that were not listed among the controversies in various sources. That is a usual argument when there is a doomed person who can be kept alive indefinitely in an unfortunate state by consuming enormous amounts of resources. Blue Rasberry (talk) 12:49, 27 September 2012 (UTC)

Baby Fae[edit]

Should Baby Fae be added to the list? The article says "The procedure was subject to a wide ethical and legal debate.". DH85868993 (talk) 07:08, 25 September 2012 (UTC)

Feel free. Blue Rasberry (talk) 11:19, 25 September 2012 (UTC)

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Verb tense and withholding medical treatment[edit]

I'm confused about the tense used here - some of the summaries are in present tense (e.g. "A mother wishes to remove her child from life support") while others are past tense. Should they all be past tense? I'm not sure of the Wiki guideline. Reading them in present tense reminds me of a list of Law & Order episodes. Also I added a section about withholding life-extending or life-sustaining measures in hopeless cases, which is more like a DNR rather than proactive euthanasia or proactively taking someone off life support. These cases seem to involve allowing severely disabled infants to die rather than subjecting them to surgeries or putting them on ventilators. From my limited searching, these are considered distinct from euthanasia in medical and religious ethics. Pinging @Bluerasberry: as the main contributor to this page. МандичкаYO 😜 18:38, 4 August 2017 (UTC)

Wikimandia About the sections - I could find no source for these. It was my own idea to have the section headings. I grouped the cases which seem the same. Wikipedia's categorizing processes do include a sort of original research and editorial decision.
I am not aware of any relevant style guide. I have no preference about whether these are present or past tense. If they look like television narratives, then I do not see that as a problem, because these are all stories which get told to teach points. If anyone else feels that this article would be more effective with another style then it could be changed. I will not ask anyone to explain their reasoning, but if someone did want to post a reason or even if they did want to articulate a style guide for lists of events, then I think that would be useful for others. There are lots of "list of events" articles on Wikipedia but I am not aware of anyone writing guidance about them. Blue Rasberry (talk) 18:46, 4 August 2017 (UTC)
@Bluerasberry: I think the sections are all fine, but I was explaining why I created a separate section for the Baby M and Baby K cases. (For example, at the American Academy of Family Physicians FAQ it says, "Is withdrawal or withholding of treatment equivalent to euthanasia?" No. There is a strong general consensus that withdrawal or withholding of treatment is a decision that allows the disease to progress on its natural course. It is not a decision to seek death and end life. Euthanasia actively seeks to end the patient's life.) So that is why I created a separate section and moved Baby K, in case anyone considered it unnecessary. Anyway, about the style, whether present or past tense also doesn't make a difference, except that it should be consistent across the whole page. I'll try to find a style guide and see if there is a preference. Thanks for your work on this page. МандичкаYO 😜 19:00, 4 August 2017 (UTC)
Ugh Sorry for the confusion - for some reason I was thinking the original section referenced euthanasia. But I think taking someone off life support vs never putting them on life support in the first place falls under a slightly different set of medical ethics, withdrawal of life support vs withholding of life support, especially as both cases involve newborn babies. МандичкаYO 😜 19:04, 4 August 2017 (UTC)
I do not have an opinion about that. I can understand how they are the same, and I can understand how they are different. Make a new section if you like. Blue Rasberry (talk) 19:09, 4 August 2017 (UTC)
Use past tense. This is an encyclopedia, and that's what we use for stuff that happened in the past. This is not a textbook, and we are not presenting an ethics tutorial or exercise. We studiously avoid ever writing like anything of that sort, per NOT#HOWTO policy.  — SMcCandlish ¢ ≽ʌⱷ҅ʌ≼  04:15, 13 August 2017 (UTC)