Ethics refers to the essential principles of right and wrong and those that govern how things should happen in the society. They often help in informing people’s judgment, as well as how individuals should associate with one another in life. Various principles act as the benchmarks for basing conclusions. Autonomy respect, non-maleficence (doing no harm), beneficence, truthfulness, and fairness are some of the principles governing ethics in the society. This essay analyzes the ethical issues present in the Kazuo Ishiguro’s novel, ‘Never Let me Go’ and the commonly known scientific research project called ‘The Genome Project.' It does this by laying emphasis on the principles of autonomy, non-maleficence, and the informed.
Autonomy links to one’s ability to make personal decisions without external influences. In the medical context, it relates to respecting a patient’s autonomy by creating an enabling environment for the determination of informed choices. Ishiguro’s novel is a provocative and thoughtful exploration of the concept of self-reliance and being human. It lays much emphasis on the ethics involved in human cloning. Kathy points out that their models were a technical necessity and irrelevance for bringing them into the world. She argues that the decision to make their lives was to rely upon their individual responsibilities and stand. She further says that it was a daft to assume that the children were to take after their models (Pearson, 2006).
Another instance of the breach of ethical autonomy in the book is the manner in which the individuals who administer Hailsham regard the cloned children as organ repositories and not individual persons. This issue reflects dehumanization on the account that the cloned individuals are viewed as objects and not human subjects. Another aspect of autonomy is evident using the character of Kathy in the novel. Ishiguro portrays her as a tool for actualizing the potential of an individual for independent action. Kathy’s growth makes her divert to autonomy. She changes from obtaining influence from external laws to embodying them. This argument is correct following her adoption of the caring role, where she responds appropriately to those that they share the same complications. Through this move, she bears the weight associated with the human condition (Petrillo, 2014).
Maleficence ensures that people catchphrase from inflicting harm on others. This ethical principle advocates the rules that prevent the killing of individuals, causing pain, and incapacitation. The novel reveals aspects of the failure of the people to utilize the principle of doing no harm. The nurses and physicians responsible for keeping good health of the children tend to dehumanize them. When medically examining the children, they shy away from being healthcare professionals and act as though they are mechanics working on a vehicle. Ishiguro illustrates an incident where the physicians undertake an operation meant to retrieve a vital organ, which kills the donor. This harmful move shies away from the medical principles.
The informed principle of ethics recognizes the fact that patients are independent and autonomous. This policy entails the revelation of information, patient discussion, competence, and self-reliant authorization. It also associates with the amount of information that is worth revealing in a manner that the patients understand. Kathy and her two friends represent the group of cloned children. The Hailsham administrators shy away from revealing the information that the society does not consider the cloned group as human like the non-cloned people. They hide the information about their origin and their expected role in contributing their organs to the non-clones. Another ethical issue pointing to the informed moral principle relates to the euphemistic language used by the parties involved in the transplant project related to cloning. This type of language tends to make individuals have a different perception of ethics, which clear language would disregard. The utilization of this language makes patients not understand the harmful moves taken by the physicians that might affect them.
Autonomy, non-maleficence, and informed principles in ‘The Genome Project’ entail ensuring that the genetic testing and the resulting information take a personal approach. By that, it means that the results and the decision for a test in genetics are highly peculiar. For instance, an ethical issue related to the mentioned principles is the fact that there can arise some discrimination through genotype. This claim means that the employers’ state of obtaining genetic information of a person before hiring them would lead to elements of discrimination. Another ethical issue associated with the mentioned project is the Gene therapy. It involves correcting alleles in the body of a person. The process raises ethical concerns given that certain religious groups have the opinion that humankind would be taking the creating role that is reserved for God. Such ethical issues shy away from the principles of autonomy, informed, and doing no harm. It means that they leak undesired information to the involved parties, which prove to be harmful to the victimized individuals (Walker & Morrissey, 2014).
The issue of observing ethics in the medical and science contexts turn out to be a technical problem. However, several initiatives help in ensuring that ethics is observed in the mentioned fields. For instance, the Genome Project came up with a program that would investigate and address the matters raised by the genomic research. Such a move means that the health institutes aim at the establishment of appropriate morals in the society.
Pearson, Y. (2006). Never let me clone? Countering an ethical argument against the reproductive cloning of humans. EMBO Rep, 7(7), 657-660.
Petrillo, S. (2014). Moral Theories and Cloning in Kazuo Ishiguro’s Never Let Me Go. Berkeley Undergraduate Journal, 27(1). Retrieved from http://escholarship.org/uc/item/8vh3v7bd#page-9
Walker, R. & Morrissey, C. (2014). Bioethics Methods in the Ethical, Legal, and Social Implications of the Human Genome Project Literature. Bioethics, 28(9), 481-490.