The principle of double effect in healthcare ethics


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Suppose that a physician, Dr. Robinson is caring for a patient, Mr. Mills who is suffering from end stage pancreatic cancer. The patient is in so much pain that he can barely speak enough to communicate the level of discomfort. Dr. Robinson considers administering morphine to Mr. Mills’, but feels that there is a reasonable chance that it will shorten Mr. Mills’ lifespan. Should the doctor administer the morphine or not? There are three tasks: Tasks: 1. Briefly define the ethical principle of Double Effect in your own words, and explain how it applies specifically to this scenario (1-2 paragraphs maximum). 2. Based on the stated positions of ethicists, briefly identify one argument in favor of administering the drug, and one opposing argument (1-2 paragraphs maximum). 3. Take a position on the issue, and justify that position.

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