Donald Cowart Case Study

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Aaron Estoup 21 May 2014 PHL 444 Essay #2 Donald Cowart case was influential to the topic of patient-physician autonomy. Dax did not want to remain alive after his horrendous accident that left his body almost completely burnt. He was in constant pain and felt that he was useless as a human being and felt like death was warranted. He in fact wanted to die because he believed that his life was no longer worth the pain and suffering due to his reduced quality of life. The doctors did not feel that he was in the appropriate state of mind to make this decision on his own, primarily his surgeon Dr. Larson. After the incident Dax’s psychiatrist was Dr. Robert White and he had believed that Dax no longer felt the need to be alive based…show more content…
That is one reason why the doctor could have made the correct decision. When Dax admitted years later that he was happy to be alive after the treatment it showed that Dr. Larson could have made the correct decision in his choice to continue treatment. The primary focus for any physician is to do what is best for the patient given the circumstances. In the matter of life or death, keeping a patient alive is the primary goal of treatment. When Dax said he was happy to be alive it gave Dr. Larson reassurance for his actions years before. He also claimed that Dax had many opportunities to take his own life after the treatment, which he failed to do so. I see this as the most prolific positive for keeping Dax alive. He was able to continue seeing his family and enjoy being alive given his quality of life. It is difficult to put yourself into the situation Dax was dealing with, the only way to understand would require one of us experiencing the pain he was going through. The physicians were doing their best to act morally in this situation because it is assumed that they are human beings doing what they felt was ethically and morally right for Dax. It is hard to decide if the physicians truly knew what was right for Dax throughout his treatment. Even though the doctors did not make the decision that Dax wanted, the fact that he was still alive and was…show more content…
While I do not think that decision made by the doctor was ethically and morally permissible for Dax’s autonomy, the fact of the matter is that he is still alive and could continue living his life. . I could not imagine being in a situation like this but looking at it from an outside perspective I could understand why the doctor made the decision to keep Dax alive. Even with this is mind Dax was not treated in the proper manner by the doctors for not adhering to his requests. Instead of trying to understand why Dax was acting the way he was, the doctors instead insisted that he was acting like a child and was unable to make the decision for himself. Even Dr. Larson went against Dax’s psychiatrist Dr. White in his words stating that Dax was sane in his judgments. They lacked any morality and the main focus of this relationship was not to adhere to Dax’s needs. These among other reasons that I have previously stated are factors as to why the treatment given to Dax was not ethically permissible in the sense of Dax’s autonomy. The patient’s beliefs and values should never come into question with this mutual relationship, which is exactly the opposite of what happened
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