10 Bioethical Topics.

Essay by betobertoHigh School, 11th grade May 2003

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Bioethics: What are the issues?

1. If I were a doctor who was asked by a child?s parents to prescribe a genetically-engineered growth hormone to make sure that their normal child grows tall I would respond to the parents that they must make sure they have thought this through thoroughly because it is a life-altering decision. As well they must consider the fact that they will not be the 100% biological parents of the child since genetic engineers will alter the fetus? DNA. Furthermore they must bear in mind that as a doctor I do not agree on their decision since they are tampering with nature. As well there is no guarantee that use of the technology will produce change that is in the best interest of the fetus. The complexity of the interactions of genes means that altered organisms could have the potential to cause great harm. I would strongly recommend to them to reflect upon their decision long and hard before deciding on whether they should genetically alter the baby.

2.Today many very people are very ill are kept alive by machines, even though the people have permanent loss of brain function. The families of some of these people feel that the patient would probably not want to be kept alive artificially. There are many pros and cons to this subject. Some of the pros include that if the person is kept alive in the future there may be a cure for the person. Also it may take the person 5 or 15 years to recover and get off life support yet if the family turns life support off the will die in a matter of days. Furthermore the patient may regain consciousness therefore if one were to stop life support it may be considered murder.

Some cons of taking someone off life support is that the person may recover several days, weeks, or years after the life support has been taken off, yet if it is weeks the person will be dead. Additionally in the future there may be a cure or the person may recover from the coma.

Being taken off life support is a very difficult decision to make. Many people today decide that they do not want to be on life support what-so-ever but many times the doctor is not allowed to do that. I believe that I would like to be on life support if I were to need it in the future. I have decided to go on life support if I needed to because I know that eventually there will be a cure or treatment.


4.If a psychiatrist who treats depression tells me to give an experimental drug to a group of patients but not to tell them anything about the drug I would not do it. I would decide not to give the drug because my bioethics would not let me. I believe that the patient must know what the drug is supposed to do and what risks/side-effects of the drug are. It would not be right for me to give an unknown drug to patients with no idea of the risks. I would not want the responsibility of someone dying from taking the drug. Moreover I believe it to be unethical and somewhat unmoral, disloyal to not inform a person what they are about to be getting in to when it is of such serious nature.

5.Some bioethical decisions that the FDA must make in approving all new drugs to ensure that they are safe and effective are to see if there is any long term affects on a person who has taken the drug. This is to make sure that after 10 or 20 years of taking the drug there will be no side effects. The FDA must ensure that the drug will not harm the human on the drug through various tests and experiments. As well the FDA must view all the negative and positive effects of the drug to guarantee it will not harm society. Furthermore the FDA must determine whether or not the risks involved are worth the result of the drug. If they decide it is not then the drug should not be FDA approved.

Genetic Screening: What to do with a new tool

1.If someone is found to be a carrier of a serious genetic disorder the first thing to do is to tell your family in case you have children or other people who may help you go through the rough times. As well they can take proper precautions. You as a person should be properly informed and learn about treatments and the negative/positive effects that you will receive. Find a good lawyer and write a will so if you happen to die at some time you will give your possessions to the desired person. Find other people with the same condition and talk to them about their life and who they have lived/coped with the disease.

2.If a couple finds out that their fetus has a serious defect they should consider whether they want to have the baby and deal with the circumstances after the baby is born. Or they may want to have an abortion if they think that the baby will simply suffer for the rest of his/her life. The couple must see if they can afford to have a baby that has a serious defect as well. (Ex: being able to buy wheelchair(s), hire a nurse if the couple is busy during the day etc.) If they choose to have the baby they must consider and prepare their home for the child. For instance if the baby is in a wheel chair they will have to get a special lift to bring them up and down. Basically the decision is narrowed down to if they personally believe that the child will or will not suffer for their life and should they live through that suffering or not.

3.I believe that the parents of the child/fetus should be involved in making decisions regarding genetic screening. Yet the physician of the family should thoroughly go through all the risks and affects of genetic screening. A doctor or the government should not have the right to make the decision because the parents of the fetus may have personal, moral or religious factors which will influence their decision. Since it is the couple?s baby and not the government?s the parents should have the ultimate word. However, if the physician/doctor of the fetus strongly disagrees with the parent?s decision I believe he should have the right to take the decision to court where the difference of opinions will be resolved.

4.The legal right to abort a fetus after genetic testing might be abused by couples and by society because at first people may abort their baby if it has some kind of mental or physical problem or if it will die within few weeks of birth. However, as years pass and genetic testing becomes more and more available and popular, society will begin to abort a baby if it does not have blonde hair or if it is not of their desired sex. By aborting perfectly healthy babies it puts society at risk because in the future the population will slowly and slowly diminish. It is my opinion that the legal right must be changed towards abortion. This is to say that an abortion can only be performed if the fetus has a terminal illness and not because of preference to eye colour, hair colour etc. This is a problem in which the government should deal with now because it will happen in the future whether we like it or not. Abortions due to personal characteristics of the baby are unsuitable, inappropriate, and unacceptable.

Do you really want to know what your genes say?

1.Knowing what diseases will befall you in the future will be helpful to you because you may be able to take care of your body today so that the disease may not attack you or the disease may vanish from your system in the future. As well it will be helpful because you may be able to take certain medications to prevent the disease or take different actions in your life to prevent the disease from happening. However, this knowledge may also be varying harmful to one?s health. It can make you very depressed knowing that you may die at age X. Furthermore the depression could lead to more severe things such as suicide or paranoia. Therefore by knowing the disease it can make you less active which will directly affect your health as well, or it can make you sad which affects your mental health and it can make even worse than what you would be when you have the disease.

2.A person?s genome may cause for discrimination because of several reasons. For instance in England there is several hundred thousand DNA profiles of individuals who have criminal records. In the future there might be a connection between criminals and the arrangement of DNA. Some people who may have the same (or similar) arrangement of DNA may be discriminated upon or not given the same rights as someone else. Also a person?s genome may cause for discrimination because if someone is applying for a job and the company finds out that they will have a terminal illness in 10 years the person may not be hired. In addition if someone genome says they will have cancer (or any disease) in the future people may not want to get involved romantically with the person because they do not want to deal with the person?s disease. Furthermore if someone wants to learn how to play tennis or the piano but knows they will have arthritis at age X, they will not be able to play tennis/piano when they get it. Therefore their coach/teacher/instructor may not want to teach them because they know that the person will have to quit. I believe that a person?s genome will cause for discrimination in the future and I don not think it is right. Everyone should be given an equal chance.