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Ethics!. Past Exam Questions. Year 2 PSA1.3 2010.

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Past Exam Questions

year 2 psa1 3 2010
Year 2 PSA1.3 2010

In Question 4, you were asked to identify benefits for Mavis from smoking cessation, even at this stage (Dx of SCLC). As a long-term smoker, and particularly in view of her unwillingness to cease following treatment for lung cancer, Mavis would be described by some people as suffering from a self-induced disease.

  • Briefly outline the two (2) common senses or notions of “self-induced” disease, as illustrated by the case of Mavis. (2 marks)
  • Briefly explain why one (1) of these senses has potential negative implications for the patient. (2 marks)
  • What beneficial purpose can the concept of “self-induced disease” serve? (2 marks)
self induced disease
Self Induced Disease
  • Absolute responsibility (complete freedom)
  • Medicalisation (i.e. genes and environment determine actions)

Australian Medical Association:

  • “The AMA recognises that there are divergent views regarding euthanasia and physician-assisted suicide. The AMA believes that medical practitioners should not be involved in interventions that have as their primary intention the ending of a person's life. This does not include the discontinuation of futile treatment.”

World Medical Association:

  • “Euthanasia, that is the act of deliberately ending the life of a patient, even at the patient's own request or at the request of close relatives, is unethical. This does not prevent the physician from respecting the desire of a patient to allow the natural process of death to follow its course in the terminal phase of sickness.”

Week 6 Learning Resource, Mal Parker:

  • “In 2003, Queensland added a new section 282A to the Criminal Code, entitled Palliative Care. This section protects from criminal liability a doctor or someone authorised by a doctor, who provides reasonable palliative care in the circumstances to another person, in good faith, with reasonable care and skill, even if an incidental effect of providing the care is to hasten the death of the other person. Palliative care is defined as any act or omission directed at relieving a person’s pain and suffering, and reasonable palliative care is that which conforms to the medical and ethical standards of the medical profession.

Not surprisingly, euthanasia supporters criticise the distinction made between intended and foreseen effects, and consider that if treatment which “incidentally” brings about death is acceptable, then so should treatment which is intended to bring about death, in appropriate circumstances. The emphasis here is on the similarity of consequences, rather than strict intentions, although some critics also claim that a foreseen effect is, ipso facto, intended.“

  • “In Holland, until recently, the illegality of euthanasia reinforced the strength of society's commitment to the value of life, while at the same time, extreme cases were accepted as exceptions based on extreme necessity. This principle in fact has been utilised in Australia where juries have refused to send elderly “mercy-killers” to jail.”
year 2 psa 2003 continued
Year 2 PSA 2003 continued…

You remind Jack about the advance health directive which you assisted him to

complete six months before, and the recent amendment to the Queensland criminal

code concerning medical treatment of terminally ill patients.

Question 2. (8 marks)

(a) What specific protection does the recent amendment to the criminal code provide to doctors? (4 marks)

(b) If Jack did not appoint an attorney for health matters at the time he wrote his advance health directive, who would be most likely to be his statutory health attorney in the event that he became incompetent to make health decisions?

(2 marks)

(c) Is Jack legally entitled, by way of his advance health directive, to refuse to have life

sustaining treatment initiated, should his medical condition deteriorate to the point where it becomes necessary? (2 marks)

year 2 psa 2003 continued1
Year 2 PSA 2003 continued…

Jack’s son Jim came to see you, soon after you diagnosed Jack’s cancer. Jim was

very angry that his father had not had a test when his uncle Bert died. He considered that if Jack had been tested, he would not have the cancer now. He informed you that he intended to seek legal advice about obtaining damages for Jack’s condition.