Dax: Ethical Theories

Essay by bigb1015College, UndergraduateA-, October 2014

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Bryan Corbett


Ethical Theory

Dax Reflection Paper

Donald Cowart, otherwise known as "Dax," was a normal person just like anyone else at the start of the summer of 1973. One afternoon, he and his father went to look at a plot of land for sale in Texas unaware that his life was about to change for good. After their surveying was complete, they tried to start their car to no avail. Once the engine finally sparked, the air around Dax and his father ignited, engulfing the pair and their vehicle in flames. Unfortunately, Dax's father did not survive his injuries, however, Dax was rushed to a burn ward and was seemingly stabilized. The doctors are faced with the moral dilemma of treating a patient, Dax, with severe burns, from an explosion, that cover over 80% of his body. The obvious options for the doctors are to either treat Dax, thus increasing his suffering for the greater good of saving his life, or cease treatment, in which Dax would ultimately die from his severe wounds.

The moral argument for saving Dax's life, the standpoint the doctors come from, is that of Beneficence and the principle of the Sanctity of Life. Sanctity of Life is the principle that "God gave life, and therefore only God can take it away." Because we were made in God's image, we are of the highest quality and "special." In this case, the doctors have a duty to not take life. By this principle, it is their duty to do what they can and let God take the life of Dax should God choose to do so.

Beneficence, fundamentally, is doing the ultimate good. In the field of medicine, this pertains to the preservation of life, restoration of health,