Reflection paper – 4 pages or less; “Describe the ethical problems raised by the Jahi McMath case. Take a position. what was the right answer? Defend your position.” “be very specific and straight forward”.3 or more sources. Use proper form citing sources in the text of the paper and endnotes (Bibliography)” as described in the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association. Note: the bibliography page should contain all sources that you looked at even if you do not quote from them.

Title: Ethical Dilemmas in the Jahi McMath Case: A Defensible Position

The Jahi McMath case presented a multitude of complex ethical challenges that provoked intense debate among medical professionals, legal experts, and the general public. This reflection paper aims to explore the ethical problems raised by this case and take a position regarding the right course of action. By examining the central ethical dilemmas and evaluating the available evidence, this paper will defend the position that honoring the autonomy and wishes of the patient and her family is the ethically justified approach.

Ethical Problems Raised:
1. Definition of Death:
The first ethical problem in the Jahi McMath case revolves around the definition of death. The medical community generally accepts brain death as sufficient for the determination of death. However, Jahi’s family argued that she showed signs of life and advocated for ongoing medical intervention. This disagreement created an ethical dilemma, as the determination of death is paramount in subsequent decision-making processes.

2. Patient Autonomy:
The second ethical problem involves respecting patient autonomy. Jahi’s family deeply believed that their daughter was alive and requested continued medical care accordingly. Although medical professionals argued that she was irreversibly brain dead, the family’s wishes must be taken into account. This aspect raises questions about the extent to which patient autonomy should be respected, even when it contradicts the accepted medical definition of death.

3. Decision-making and Ethical Conflicts:
The third ethical problem stems from the divergent perspectives among medical professionals, legal experts, and the court system. Different parties held varying opinions on the determination of death and the appropriate course of action. These conflicts complicated the decision-making process, with some arguing for the withdrawal of treatment based on medical evidence, while others advocated for providing the requested care. Resolving these ethical conflicts required careful consideration of the best interests of the patient, as well as balancing the autonomy of the family against medical expertise.

The Right Answer and Its Defense:
Based on the aforementioned ethical problems, the ethically justified position in the Jahi McMath case would be to respect the wishes and autonomy of the patient and her family. Despite the medical community’s consensus on brain death, it is crucial to recognize that there are areas of medical uncertainty and religious beliefs that may conflict with this definition. To defend this position, three main arguments emerge:

1. Patient-Centered Care:
The principle of patient-centered care emphasizes that patients should have a say in their own treatment decisions, and their values and beliefs should be taken into consideration. In the case of Jahi McMath, her family firmly believed that she was alive and deserving of ongoing care. While medical professionals may disagree with this perspective, it is essential to respect the family’s autonomy and their desire to act in what they perceived to be the best interest of their daughter.

2. Cultural and Religious Sensitivity:
Debates regarding end-of-life decisions often intersect with cultural and religious beliefs. Jahi’s family, adhering to their religious convictions, expressed the belief that life continues even in the face of brain death. Ignoring these deeply held beliefs would not only disrespect their autonomy but also disregard their cultural and religious identities. Upholding cultural and religious sensitivity is crucial in honoring the diversity of values and perceptions surrounding death.

3. Limitations in Defining Death:
While the medical community defines brain death as the legal and ethical criterion for determining death, there remains some ambiguity and uncertainty surrounding this diagnosis. Some argue that brain-dead patients may still exhibit cellular activity or respond to stimuli, generating doubts about the accuracy of the diagnosis. In light of these uncertainties, it becomes ethically justifiable to consider alternative perspectives and give deference to the family’s viewpoint, both for the sake of preserving the patient’s life and acknowledging the limitations of medical expertise.

In conclusion, the Jahi McMath case presented numerous ethical problems, primarily involving the definition of death, patient autonomy, and decision-making conflicts among different stakeholders. By taking a position that advocates for respecting the autonomy and wishes of the patient and her family, this paper argued for a patient-centered approach that acknowledges the cultural and religious sensitivities surrounding end-of-life decisions. Moreover, the limitations in defining death further support the need for open dialogue and consideration of alternative viewpoints. Resolving ethical dilemmas requires reaching a delicate balance between medical expertise, patient autonomy, and cultural sensitivity.