In the following assignment we will use a specific case to examine in more detail the intricacies
of an ethical dilemma.
I would like to introduce you to the story of Dax Cowart. Attached is an excerpt from a speech
that Dax Cowart made several years ago, a speech that remains poignant for contemporary
reflection. The story is heart breaking and challenges all the bounds of ethics and health care. As
you listen to Dax, or read the transcript of his talk, think about the issues Dax discusses, especially in connection with capacity and the right to decline medical treatment. These are the
stories and circumstances where ethics and health care collide and individuals are forced to
make tough decisions. In thinking over your responses to the discussion questions, consider the
concepts we have talked about in the modules to this point, such as personal moral values;
bioethical principles; the need to weigh and prioritize competing moral interests; a healthcare
professionals charge to provide ethical care and a patient’s right to self-determination.
You will analyze Dax Cowart’s case by considering the following questions:
• You are Dax’s physician. How would you respond to Dax’s requests that you “let him die”?
• Would you continue to treat him against his wishes? Why or Why Not?
After reviewing the case study (see Learning and Assessment Activities for this module),
respond to the following questions in a short essay (no more than 700 -800 words):
1. Describe the most relevant ethical dilemma(s) presented (no more than two).
2. Identify the most relevant stakeholder(s) (no more than 3) and briefly describe the situation
from their perspective.
3. Analyze the dilemma, using scholarly discussion, from the perspective of the primary
stakeholder (typically the patient). Include a discussion of at least two ethical theories or
bioethics principles studied in the course that relate to the dilemma and issues you identified.
Include any relevant legal concerns or requirements outlined in the readings.
4. Present your assessment, resolution or potential solutions for resolving the issue. Remember that there are no right answers, per se, so reflective questions can be as appropriate as a firm
5. Identify how this case might cause moral distress for members of the healthcare team.
6. Reviewing another contemporary case of the patient refusing forced feedings. Judge: Severely
anorexic patient can refuse forced feedings. Identify contemporary policies, standards and laws
that have been put in place to prevent similar dilemmas.
7. Briefly explain what you have learned from examining this case.
Your case analysis will be between 700 – 800 words. It will include the following:
• A title page with the title of the case, your name, and date
• Double-spaced, Times New Roman 12-point font
• APA formatted inline citations as appropriate
• A bibliography of references used