The tradition applied in medical practice since time immemorial that treatment is administered upon ascertaining that the person is a patient may be misleading as it is helpful. A patient should not necessarily be a person in order to qualify as a patient. I agree with this article because:
In past medical ethics literature, the notion of “person” does not seem to have executed a major role in determining how medicine should not or should be administered with regard to a particular patient (Szasz). This notion does not just reveal the bad shape that the philosophy of medicine or medical ethics is in, but also is also a warning sign that it is in deep trouble.
The term “person” emerges as a regulative notion of medical practice, but becomes a major medical issue when reconciling the welfare of an individual to that of mankind. In his book: “the patient as a person,” Ramsey applies the term “person” to protect an individual against the evil effects of experimental medicine. His application of the term is somehow positive because it reminds the medical staff of where the priority lies in the course of treatment. The first responsibility of the medical staff is the immediate patient; mankind and family come in later. Ramsey’s argument of the term “person” forms the basis on which doctors rightly perceive that their task is not to cure disease, but rather to cure the person who happens to be the patient (Gifford).
The notion “person” plays a different function in other writings touching on the issue of medical ethics. In these contexts, the term is not used basically as a protective notion, but rather plays a permissive role that absorbs the moral pressures off some quandaries raised by modern medicine. The literatures lead us to the conclusion that if character X, Y, or Z is not a person, then the degree of concern is not the same as it is to those who bear this dignified title.
I disagree with the notion that a patient should be a person in order to be a patient because it promotes the issue of abortion. Is the fetus a human person? If the prophets of abortion could prove that the fetus is not a person, consequently they would go ahead and prove that the fetus is not entitled to the right and care that is due to a human being (Lee).
Therefore, the notion of “persons” as a regulatory variable in medical practice could be an attempt to seek a firmer foundation than these more social and historically contingent notions could provide. Applying the notion in a way that denies life to a fetus undermines the moral way that we have learned to display our lives in our upbringing. In addition, the advocates of “personhood” have failed to show how that notion works in a way of life with which people need to identify with.
A fetus has got life, and it should be considered as a person. However, the criterion of using the notion “person” to administer medicine undermines the value of life. A policy of neglecting defective infants appeals ultimately. It is worth the greatness and glory of humankind to establish standards by which to determine the threshold of life to be considered worth living.
Proponents of “personhood” may be useful in other fields like moral nature, education theory and in psychology, but to adopt the notion for medical practice is a grave mistake as it undermines the value of life. Moreover, the search for such guidelines would launch a series of medical controversies upon a trackless dozen of uncertainties.
Physicians who have been reported to allow some babies to die (or even hasten their death) explain that they make such decisions on the basis of familial, social and economic factors, as well as the newborn’s medical condition. For instance, if the parents are wealthy, treatment may be given; as opposed to if the parents are poor.
I disagree with the moral aspect of the practice of neglect in the name of justice because of the following arguments:
Dr. Swinyard reports very infrequent need of institutionalization or foster parents that results from concentrating the mother’s attention on what medical care requires and not on the lifelong burdens of custody. One should note that parents faced with such a dilemma are capable of making the most morally sensible decisions concerning the rights and needs of defective newborn children. There is a Jewish teaching that implies that only disinterested parents could arrive at decisions meant to cause premature termination of life.
The motives of a physician who considers an unhappy marriage or family poverty when weighing the dilemma facing one child against that facing another amounts to injustice. Physicians are not recruited to terminate all of life’s tragedies, least of all by decreasing medical care and letting the infants die who seem to have less care in the future as a result of poverty and other social and economic factors (Johansson).
All physicians and spiritual leaders are subject to God’s judgment. Our God is not a respecter of persons (of good quality); neither does Hecurtail his care for us because of our parent’s poverty, because of their failed marriages, nor because we are most in need have help. True human life in the equality of life for all, regardless of the circumstances (Stempsey).
Many of God’s life and death decisions are enigmatic to us. People are born; while others die. Nations rise and fall, consequently, God, in His official capacity-or at least permits-numerous phenomena to occur that He would never think of doing in a private capacity. Likewise, we who have not been given dominion over mankind should not take upon ourselves to operate in a private capacity. God has got some rational tendencies whose care results from indicators of our own personhood, or of our achievements within those capacities. Our judgments should not be clouded by prejudice. Just as God makes His rain fall upon the upright and the unrighteous, and his sun to shine on the normal, as well as the abnormal. Likewise, we should take special care of the weak and the vulnerable on the society. Our care should be governed by need, not the capacity or merit (Marcum).
Szasz, Thomas S. Words to the Wise: A Medical-Philosophical Dictionary. New Brunswick, NJ
[u.a.: Transaction Publ, 2004. Print.
Lee, Keekok. The Philosophical Foundations of Modern Medicine. Houndmills, Basingstoke:
Palgrave Macmillan, 2012. Print.
Stempsey, William E. Elisha Bartlett's Philosophy of Medicine. Dordrecht: Springer, 2005.
Johansson, Ingvar, and Niels Lynøe. Medicine & Philosophy: A Twenty First Century
Introduction. Frankfurt, M. [i.e. ] Heusenstamm: Ontos-Verl, 2008. Print.
Gifford, Fred. Philosophy of Medicine. Oxford [U.K.: North Holland, an imprint of Elsevier,
2011. Internet resource.Bottom of Form
Marcum, James A. An Introductory Philosophy of Medicine: Humanizing Modern Medicine.
Dordrecht: Springer, 2008. Print.