LEGAL AND ETHICAL ISSUES
1.) One of the compelling rights addressed by this case is medical autonomy. The right to autonomy gives the patients the opportunity to exercise reason which means rational reasoning based on a good ground of knowledge and understanding (Coggon and Miola, 2011, p.529). Every person has the right to make autonomous decision and engage in moral concepts. Liberty and autonomy go together. The importance of liberty is the freedom to act in accordance to autonomy. Agarwal and Murinson (2012, p.3.) stated that patient autonomy refers to the patient’s right to the involvement during the discussion and decision-making process during the consultation.
In this particular case, Tyrell has the right to autonomy to decide what will be done to his body. Autonomy gives the patients the right to control of their own bodies and to make the major decisions on the medical care they will take. In the case of minors, the right to autonomy is shifted to the child’s parents to make the medical decisions. Tyrell is considered as medically incompetent to decide what will be best for his body. However, the right to autonomy admits exceptions, in the event that the doctors believe that the parent’s decision will cause harm to the child and the doctor can go to court to be allowed to intervene (Guido, 2009).
2.) The right of the patient takes precedence. Together with his parents, they decided to stop after two sessions of chemotherapy since it will result to the amputation of his leg. Based on their religious belief as fundamentalist Christians, they made a decision to let the will God of for the outcome of his condition and shift to alternative therapy. Since Tyrell is already just an 8th grader or only 14 years of age, the right to autonomy is transferred to his parents. The requirement to respect patient autonomy is part of medical ethics. Autonomous choices are equivalent to informed choices of competent persons, and not unduly influenced by external pressures such as coercion and manipulation (Walker, 2008, p.595).
3.) As a patient, Tyrell must ethically possess the right to autonomy. He is no longer a toddler or a little child. At his age, he is well-informed, aware, and articulate young man who has a deep understanding about the effects of cancer to his body and the consequences if he refused to undergo chemotherapy. The court must recognize the right to Tyrell as a patient to make his own choice. He is considered as medically competent and can determine what will happen to him in the event that he decided to seek alternative therapy.
4.) I would decide to follow the recommendation of the physicians to have the leg of Tyrell amputated to stop the spread of cancer to his lungs. The doctors have the right to go to court and intervene to avoid further harm to the patient. Since Tyler is just a minor, he cannot completely comprehend the consequences of his decision despite the fact that he opposed the planned amputation of his leg. If only the parents listened to the advice of the physicians, the spread of the cancer to his lungs could have been prevented. After the court battle, it was already too late stop the spread of the cancer disease.
Agarwal, A., & Murinson, B. (2012). New Dimensions in Patient-Physician Interaction: Values, Autonomy, and Medical Information in the Patient-Centered Clinical Encounter. Rambam Maimonides Medical Journal, 3(3), 1-11.
Coggon, J., & Miola, J. (2011). Autonomy, Liberty and Medical Decision-Making. Cambridge Law Journal, 70(3), 523-547.
DeLaet, D. L. (2012). Genital Autonomy, Children's Rights, and Competing Rights Claims in International Human Rights Law. .International Journal Of Children's Rights, 20(4), 554-583.
Guido, G.W. (2009). Legal and Ethical Issues in Nursing, 5th ed. USA: Prentice Hall.
Walker, R. L. (2008). Medical Ethics Needs a New View of Autonomy. Journal Of Medicine & Philosophy, 33(6), 594-608.