Summary of a Case & Moral Framework
Directions for Task 4
- First, describe a true story about a person who has experienced the moral dilemma you proposed in Task 1. Briefly state the relevant details of their case. Cite all sources with in-text citations.
2. Second, pick one moral framework or principle of bioethics and explain it.
3. Finally, state what the morally right action would be in this story, according to the moral framework or principle, and why.
4. Include a bibliography for all references used.
Sample Task 4 Summary of a Story & Moral Framework
According to Elizabeth Weil, Cheryl Chase was born in the U.S. in 1956 with both male and female sex organs (Weil, 2006). This was known as being a “hermaphrodite,” and is now called “intersex.” At least 1 in 4,500 infants are born intersex, possibly more. Chase was raised as a boy for 18-months. Then doctors discovered that Chase had a uterus and both ovarian and testicular tissue. The doctors surgically removed Chase’s external genitalia and advised Chase’s parents to raise her as a girl. Chase was unhappy as a child. At 10 years old, she learned about the operation. At 19, Chase became depressed and angry about the surgery, which left lasting scarring and numbing, and began researching her medical history. Chase is now an advocate for people who are intersex. Drawing on the Nuremberg Code, she argues that people who are intersex should not be stigmatized or operated on without their consent. Cheryl Chase is her pen-name. (Weil, 2006)
The principle of nonmaleficence states that medical professionals should avoid all unnecessary harm, and should act only when the potential benefits outweigh the harms or risk of harm (Munson & Lague, 2016, pg. 934).
Applying the Moral Framework to the Story
The surgery caused lasting physical harm, and it is unclear if there were any benefits. Chase claimed the surgery also caused lasting emotional harm. According to the principle of nonmaleficence, then, it was wrong for doctors to perform surgery on Chase as an infant.
Munson, R., Lague, I. (2016). Intervention and reflection: basic issues in bioethics. Cengage Learning.
Weil, E. (2006). What if it’s (sort of) a boy and (sort of) a girl. The New York Times Magazine.