A 10-year-old girl suffered from a rare malignancy in her brain and around her spinal cord.

 A 10-year-old girl suffered from a rare malignancy in her brain and around her spinal cord. She had surgery, and most of the tumor mass was removed, but residual tumor remained in the brain and around the spinal cord. The girl’s doctors informed her parents that chemotherapy and radiation were possible treatment options but could cause serious problems such as sepsis, a permanent loss of IQ and stature, and even death. The parents wished to proceed with the therapy.

While their child was undergoing aggressive chemotherapy and radiation, the parents did independent research and read of several drugs being administered for cancer in other states that were unapproved by the Federal Drug Administration (FDA) and were illegal in their home state but were touted by physicians using them as “miracle cures.” The couple sued their child’s physician for failure to disclose alternative treatments, thus depriving them of informed consent. 

A court awarded summary judgment to the physician.

Use your critical thinking skills to answer the questions that follow the case.

1.In your opinion, does the court’s decision seem warranted? Why or why not?

2.Did the physician involved follow the law? Did he or she act ethically? Explain your answer.

3.Under the doctrine of informed consent, should a physician be responsible for informing patients of all treatment options, even if some of the treatments are illegal or not yet proven effective? Explain your answer.

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