medical ethics ch 10 d c

For Cahpter 10, the assigned Decision Scenario is Number 5, found on page 415:

Tabita Bricci is Taken to Court

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In early December 1993, 22 year old Tabita Bricci, pregnant with her first child, went to St Joseph Hospital in Chicago for a check up. She was eager to do all she could to make sure she a healthy baby.

The doctors at St Joseph gave her bad news, however. The thirty-six-week-old fetus was not getting enough oxygen and nutrients through the placenta to develop normally. The baby might die or suffer sever impairments, including brain damage. The good news, the doctors said, was that at 36 weeks the fetus could do well outside her body. They recommended an immediate Caesarean section.

Tabita and her husband Mircea, a twenty-three-year-old bank worker, were Pentecostal Christians, and they prayed for guidance in making a decision. According to their reading of the Bible, however, they thought the pregnancy should not be ended until the full term. Tabita told the doctors she didn’t want to have the recommended surgery.

St Joseph Hospital referred the case to the Cook County state’s attorney’s office. The public guardian went to court to seek an order requiring that Tabita Bricci have a caesarean section potentially to save the life of her fetus. The court refused to issue the order, and Patrick Murphy, the public guardian, appealed the decision. “As lawyers for the fetus,” Murphy said, we have to do everything possible to maximize his life.”

Murphy told a panel of the Illinois Appellate Court that it had to decide whether the fetus, close to full trm, was “just a mass of human cells or a real life-form being kept prisoner in a mother’s womb.” Were it not “for the mother’s primitive beliefs, he’d be outside the womb.”

An attorney for the state said that the hospital did not want to force the woman into the hospital, but it wanted her to have a caesarean once she naturally began labor. What if she refuses, one of the justices asked? Should she be strapped down and operated on?

The attorney replied that once the patient was given an anesthetic in a routine way, the surgery would then be performed. (Caesarean delivers are from two to five more times more likely to result in the death of the mother than vaginal deliveries.) A public defender representing Tabita Bricci said, “This is absolutely Orwellian.”

On December 14, the appellate court unanimously upheld the lower court decision. The next day, Murphy filed an expedited appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court, but the court refused to take the case.

Tabita Bricci gave birth vaginally to a four-pound, twelve-ounce, boy on December 30 at Northwestern Memorial Hospital. The baby was about three pounds underthe usual birth weight, but he appeared to have suffered no defects from the placental problem. Even so, doctors said it would take months or years to be sure.”

Of the three questions posed in the decision scenario, please answer ONLY number 1:

1. Who should get to say whether a fetus is protected from the risk of harm or death, the pregnant woman or the state.

(Please consider in answering this question, the issues of the Angela Carder case, presented in the beginning of this chapter, and the cases from Chapter 1 where parents made a variety of decisions regarding the nutrition, feeding, and treatment of their children.)

If you use no resources other than the text, you need provide no references or citations. Use of any resource other than the text will require both in-text citations and references. You can skip the usual APA rules and answer this question in one page of text.

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