Applying Ethical Principles: To Vaccinate or Not Vaccinate
Case Study Summary
In the case study, To Vaccinate or Not Vaccinate, a young, college-educated couple, Jenna and Chris Smith, are adamant that they do not want their newborn child vaccinated for what they regard as highly valid reasons. Despite the best efforts of the couples pediatrician, Dr. Angela Kerr, to convince the Smiths to have their newborn vaccinated, the couple maintains that they have reviewed the scientific evidence as well as reports from other parents and their cost-benefit analysis convinced them that vaccination was not in their childs best interests. The purpose of this paper is to apply the three components of an ethical decision-making model to this ethical dilemma, together with a proposed solution to the situation that will result in the baby being vaccinated.
Stakeholders Involved or Affected by the Ethical Problem
First and foremost, the newborn is the principal stakeholder in this ethical dilemma, with a lifetime ahead of it that will be fundamentally affected in one way or another depending on the outcome of any intervention to persuade the Smiths to have it vaccinated. Following closely behind the newborn are the parents, of course, who also have a lifetime investment in the wellbeing of their child. Next on the list of stakeholders are the clinicians who are confronted with this ethical dilemma and finally the general American public, who are referred to abstractly as the herd.
Application of the Ethical Decision-Making Model to This Ethical Dilemma
Moral awareness: The first stage of the ethical decision-making model involves the recognition that an ethical dilemma exists. In this case, the ethical dilemma is the refusal of the Smiths to have their newborn vaccinated based on what appears to be specious reasoning.
Moral judgment: The next stage of the ethical decision-making model concerns making a determination as to what courses of action are right or wrong. Clearly, this is a far more challenging stage that simply recognizing the existence of an ethical dilemma, and determining the optimal decision in the Smiths case is complicated by the need to respect the parents autonomy and decision not to vaccinate their child.
Ethical behavior: The final stage of the ethical decision-making model involves taking positive steps to achieve the desired ethical outcome. In the Smiths case, this decision would be to attempt to change the parents minds with respect to having their newborn vaccinated as recommended by the medical and scientific communities.
Description and Analysis of the Contributing Factors of the Ethical Problem
Although the case study does not specify, it appears that the infant is this couples first child. Therefore, statistically, this child is likely the only one this…vaccinated themselves. They should be firmly reminded by a multidisciplinary healthcare team that their vaccinations made it possible for them to survive into adulthood in order to conceive this child in the first place. In addition, the Smiths should be made aware of the same lifelong protections that they have enjoyed that vaccinating their newborn child would provide. Finally, the Smiths reliance on the empirical observations and reports from other parents contained in blogs should be countered with pro-vaccination reports from similar sites that also draw on parents positive feedback concerning vaccinating their children. This multifaceted strategy would have a decent change at changing the Smiths minds about vaccinations while also fostering professional collaboration in a multidisciplinary healthcare setting.
Parents rights to raise their children as they see fit is widely recognized in the United States and efforts to subvert their will are not only difficult, but frequently illegal. Nevertheless, the case study concerning the Smiths and their newborn makes it clear that every possible effort must be made to protect the lives of newborns and the larger American population through universal vaccinations. Although the ultimate decision concerning whether to vaccinate or not belongs exclusively to parents, the case study also made it clear that there were some other steps that Dr. Kerr could have taken to help persuade the Smiths…
Self-Learning Handout List any topics on which this lecture / web site expanded your knowledge: Briefly describe the way in which the lecture / web site expanded your knowledge: This information will impact my decision to vaccinate because: This information will not impact my decision to vaccinate because: Please list below any questions about the information contained in this lecture/web site" References DeStefano, Frank, Mullooly, John, Okoro, Catherine, Chen, Robert T., Marcy, S. Michael, Ward, Joel I. et
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