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Medical Ethical

Dilemmas:
Forced
Treatment
By Savannah Brock

Forced Treatment
-

The case of Schloendorff vs. Society of New York Hospital in 1914 decided that every human
being has the right to choose what happens to his or her body. This means that a person can
refuse treatment if he or she knows the risks at hand.

For Forced Treatment


Cassandra, a 17-year-old girl suffering from
Hodgkins lymphoma, decided that she did not
want to receive chemotherapy any longer. On
January 8, 2015, the Connecticut Supreme Court
ruled that she must continue chemotherapy
against her will due to her having an 85%
chance at survival if she did. The doctors have a
very good chance at saving her life, so shouldnt
they have the chance?

Against Forced Treatment


Due to Cassandra being a minor, her parents
could overrule her decision, but instead sided
with their daughter. Even though her parents
agreed with her, she was still forced to have
chemotherapy. I imagine that Cassandra and
her parents are very feeling frustrated and as if
they have no control because they do not get to
choose what happens, even though it is her
own life. Shouldnt Cassandra be able to decide
what she wants if she knows the cost?

Forced Treatment in the U.S. Current


Events
For Forced Treatment

Against Forced Treatment

According to CNN as of March 11, 2015


Cassandra is not voicing that she does not
want to continue treatment. She is in good
physical shape and continue to improve. She
only has two treatments left and her main
concern is going home. She was taken into the
custody of the Department of Children and
Families after running away in November after
two days of chemotherapy. DailyRX News
reported on May 12, 2015 that she was
allowed to return home. Chemo greatly
increased her chances for living a long,
healthy life.

After it was decided that Cassandra had to


receive chemotherapy, Fox News says that her
mother was ordered to cooperate with the
agencys medical care supervision. The
custody of her daughter was removed from
her and given to the Department of Children
and Families, after which she was forced to
stay hospitalized. Even after all of this struggle
and chemo treatment was complete, a new
mass was found in her lungs. She feels like all
of the trouble was for nothing.

Articles over Forced Treatment


For Forced Treatment

Against Forced Treatment

Beneficence calls for a physician or hospital to


maximize the patients benefits and minimize
their harms. This has caused problems
because of the patients or patients parents to
deny treatment. A neonatal ethical committee
at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine
decided that Parents are presumed to be the
decision-makers for their children unless their
decision is clearly against the best interest of the
child.

The respect for autonomy calls for an


individual being able to make their own
decisions on the treatment that they receive.
This means the right to refuse treatment. In
the case of a minor, the parent or guardian has
the right to make these decisions for their
children. This should be respected and not
overstepped.

Vocabulary
- Chemotherapy: the treatment of disease by means of chemicals that have a
specific toxic effect upon the disease-producing microorganisms or that
selectively destroy cancerous tissue.

- Hodgkins lymphoma: Cancer of the part of the immune system called the
lymphatic system.

- Forced: obtained or imposed by coercion or physical power.


- Treatment: medical care given to a patient for an illness or injury; a session
of medical care or the administration of a dose of medicine.

Citations
-

Macklin, Ruth, PH.D. Jan 12, 2015. The Ethical Dilemma of Forced Chemotherapy on a Teen.
Albert Einstein College of Medicine. <http://blogs.einstein.yu.edu/the-ethical-dilemma-offorced-chemotherapy-on-a-teen/>

Goldschmidt, Debra. Mar 11, 2015. Connecticut teen in remission as forced chemo nears end.
CNN. <http://www.cnn.com/2015/03/10/health/teen-getting-forced-chemo-in-remission/>

Apr 18, 2016. Teen forced to undergo cancer treatment says new mass found. Fox News.
<http://www.foxnews.com/health/2016/04/18/teen-forced-to-undergo-cancer-treatment-saysnew-mass-found.html>