Medical Law and Ethics: A Case Study Case Study by Nicky

Medical Law and Ethics: A Case Study
A case study of the ethical and legal aspects of therapeutic relationships.
# 147169 | 2,469 words | 9 sources | APA | 2010 | US
Published on Feb 28, 2011 in Medical and Health (General) , Law (General) , Ethics (General)

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The paper describes a case study of a 19 year old male, Daniel, who suffered from mild depression and was treated by a medical herbalist. The paper relates that after six months of treatment, Daniel committed suicide, and the parents face the decision of whether to sue the doctor for negligence and unprofessional behaviour. The paper discusses the four principles of medical ethics that include respect for autonomy, beneficence, non-maleficence, and justice, and also outlines the perspectives of utilitarianism and deontology. The paper applies these principles and frameworks to Daniel's case and explains why beneficence and maleficence are more important than respect for autonomy. The paper also shows how deontology has been followed here, but a utilitarian approach would have been better suited. The paper comes to the conclusion that in this case, it is difficult to say whether it is truly ethical for the parents to sue when they played a significant part in the outcome of their son's treatment.

Case Study: Medical Herbalist
Four Principles of Medical Ethics
Utilitarianism and Deontology

From the Paper:

"Daniel was a 19 year old male suffering from mild depression. His family was well aware of the situation, and had obtained various opinions about what is needed to help him. Daniel did not react very well to medical anti-depressants. On the physical level, they made him nervous and restless. On the emotional level, he resisted the meds for fear of becoming dependent upon them. Despite his depression, Daniel had never felt the need to succumb to substance abuse, and indeed feared this, as he had considerable experience with a friend who nearly died as a result of substance abuse. The medical herbalist, Mr. Mudra, seemed to have the solution. After about a month of his treatments, Daniel's general mood and emotions appeared to improve somewhat. After about five months of the treatment, however, he began to fall into depression again. Despite the parents' attempt to find a psychotherapist who would see Daniel, the boy refused any such help and insisted that Mr. Mudra was helping him. After only one more month, Daniel had committed suicide. The parents now face the decision of whether to sue the doctor for negligence and unprofessional behaviour."

Sample of Sources Used:

  • Stone, J. (2002) An ethical framework for complementary and alternative therapists.Routledge.
  • Applebe, G. & Wingfield, J. (1997) Applebe's Pharmacy law and ethics. The Pharmaceutical Press
  • Gillon, R. & Lloyd, A. (eds.) (1993). Principles of health care ethics. Wiley.
  • Gillon R. (1994, 16 July). Four principles of medical ethics and attention to scope. BMJ. Vol. 209, Iss. 184.
  • Kennedy, I. and Grubb, A. (1994) Medical law: Text with material. London: Butterworths.

Cite this Case Study:

APA Format

Medical Law and Ethics: A Case Study (2011, February 28) Retrieved August 15, 2022, from

MLA Format

"Medical Law and Ethics: A Case Study" 28 February 2011. Web. 15 August. 2022. <>