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HCR 210 Maricopa Community Colleges Lesson 7 Clinical Health Care Ethics Questions

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I’m studying for my Population Health class and need an explanation.

Marlise Muñoz, a married mother of one, was found unconscious by her husband due to a blood clot in her lung. After being rushed to the hospital, she was declared brain-dead and discovered to have been 14 weeks pregnant. The family viewed her as having died, since she was brain-dead, and demanded that she be removed from life support. State law prohibited the withdrawal of life-sustaining treatment from a pregnant woman, so the hospital refused the family’s request, insisting that Marlise remain on life support for 4 months until the fetus had some possibility of surviving outside the womb. Over the course of the ensuing months, the unborn fetus was determined to be nonviable due to hydrocephalus, a possible heart problem, and structural defects in the extremities. Nonetheless, the hospital persisted in its refusal until the family successfully obtained a court order requiring the hospital to remove Marlise from mechanical ventilation. Note: This is based upon a real case that received national attention. Please feel free to research this specific case and cite credible newspapers (i.e., not blogs) and scholarly or professional journal articles that discuss this case.

Question 1: How would you defend the hospital’s decision to keep Marlise on a ventilator in this scenario on the basis of autonomy?

Question 2: How could the ethical principle of autonomy be used to critique the hospital’s decision to keep Marlise on a ventilator in this scenario?

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