Biomedical Ethics : A Study Of The Line Between God And Medicine

1611 Words Mar 9th, 2016 7 Pages
Biomedical Ethics: A Study of the Line Between God and Medicine
During the years of 1975 and 1976, a Supreme Court Case was fought that changed the world of biomedical ethics. On April 14, 1975, twenty-one-year-old Karen Quinlan experienced severe brain damage after ingesting a combination of narcotics and alcohol. Shortly after this, she lost consciousness and quit breathing for two periods of fifteen minutes each The young woman’s doctors declared her brain dead due to the irreversible trauma that her brain had endured with the combination of drugs and lack of oxygen. She was promptly put on a respirator and a feeding tube. As Quinlan’s condition deteriorated within the following months, a team of doctors working at St. Clare’s Hospital diagnosed her as being in a persistent vegetative state with no hope of recovery. It was noted in the case that the family had proven to be devout Catholics, as well as the girl up until recent years. Upon receiving the diagnosis, the parents of Karen Quinlan requested that the respirator be removed from their daughter’s treatment so that their daughter could die with “grace and dignity.” (qtd. from the NY Times) The young woman’s doctors; however, refused to comply with this request. On September 12, 1975, the parents sued the hospital. In November of the same year, the judge assigned to the case ruled in favor of the doctors, but the decision was then reversed and the case went to the New Jersey Supreme Court. On March 31, 1976, in a…
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