Ethics Committee: God Knows Where I Am Part 2

Reading Questions:

Due BEFORE class on Friday

1. Did the mental hospital have an obligation to disclose Linda’s discharge to her family or would that have been an unjustified violation of the duty of confidentiality? Justify your answer by appealing to bioethical principles.

2. (a) What was Linda’s only long-term goal? (b) In the section of the article that talks about the history of mental health policy, the author says, “[f]reedom ends up looking like abandonment.” What does she mean? (Tip: Reread the section on the history of mental health policy).

3. In the article, the author interviews Elyn Saks, a professor at USC. Saks says, “we should not be in the business of choosing selves” because it’s impossible to determine whether a mental illness has altered someone’s preferences, or whether that person has simply changed.

(a) In your own words, explain what she means.

(b) What are the implications of her view with respect to the mentally ill are treated?

In-Class Discussion Questions (Final Submission Due Tuesday before noon)

Basic Comprehension

1. (a) Give one consequentialist argument that justifies the duty of confidentiality.

(b) Give one non-consequentialist (rights-based) argument that justifies the duty of confidentiality.

(c) List two examples where the duty to confidentiality must be justifiably violated.

(d) What is the general view on violating confidentiality when another duty conflicts with it?

2. (a) In two sentences or fewer, what is the difference between weak and strong paternalism?

(b) Institutionalizing Linda is an example of which? Briefly explain your answer (a sentence or 2 is fine).

(c) In two sentences or less, what is the difference between soft and hard paternalism?

(d) Requiring Linda to take medication would be an example of which? Briefly explain your answer in a sentence or two.

Application Questions: (In addition to your own thoughts, appeal to concepts and content from the textbook and lecture for full points)

1. In Discussion 2A your group discussed the bioethical principles involved in the case and which should take precedence. Based on this order, propose and defend a set of policies that would ensure the correct bioethical principle is realized. In your answer give specific policy proposals. Be sure to name who will be responsible for which decisions. Also be sure to justify your policy proposals in terms how they will promote the various outcomes and ethical values your group supports.

2. (a) For Question 1 of the pre-class reading questions, reach a group consensus.

(b) Justify your answer.

(c) Give at least one counter-argument to your groups position.

(d) Give a reply to the counterargument.