medicine and the law homework help

| January 8, 2016

Douglas has long-standing problems with his back which are getting worse and seriously affect his quality of life. His GP refers him to a hospital where tests are carried out and he is told that he needs to have an operation on his spinal cord. Dr. Brown, the surgeon who is going to carry out the operation, informs Douglas that this operation has a 0.1% risk that he might end up paralysed from the neck down, but he is not told that there is also a 0.5% risk that he could suffer permanent nerve damage that would seriously affect his ability to walk. Douglas consents to the operation and the operation goes ahead. After the operation, it becomes clear that while Douglas’ back problems have been cured, the risk of nerve damage materialised and his ability to walk is severely reduced.

A few months later, Douglas’ son David who is 4 years old is diagnosed with a brain tumour. Douglas and David’s mother Emily consent to an operation to remove the tumour. Dr. Wilks who carries out the operation uses the same technique that he has been applying successfully for the past 25 years. When David wakes up, it becomes apparent that while the tumour has been successfully removed, he lost the ability to speak. Several brain surgeons consulted by Douglas and Emily are of the view that the technique used by Dr. Wilks is outdated and in this type of operations carries a high risk of causing damage to the part of the brain that controls speech. Other surgeons say that they would have used the same technique as Dr. Wilks, as this was a procedure that had worked for them for many years and because they were familiar and more comfortable with it than with the newer procedure that carries a lower risk.

As a follow up of his brain surgery, Douglas and Emily are advised that David needs chemotherapy. By then Douglas and Emily have lost all faith in the advice given by medical professionals and decide that the better course of treatment would be to take David to a homeopath. David’s physicians explain that while homeopathy is clearly less invasive than chemotherapy, it cannot achieve the same results as chemotherapy. Without chemotherapy, they warn, the risk that David will develop another brain tumour is 50% higher than with chemotherapy. Douglas and Emily nevertheless refuse their consent to the chemotherapy.

In her worries about her son, Emily is distracted when crossing a road and gets hit by a car. While she is unconscious, she is taken to the hospital in which both Douglas and avid were treated. When she wakes up she is told that she needs a blood transfusion, as she has lost a lot of blood. Emily states that she would rather die than receive any treatment in that hospital and gets up to leave but collapses on the floor and loses consciousness again. The physicians are of the view that she will die if they do not administer blood immediately.

Advise Douglas as to potential claims against Dr. Brown; Douglas and Emily as to potential claims against Dr. Wilks; David’s treating physicians as to the appropriate course to take in light of the parents’ refusal to consent to chemotherapy; and Emily’s physicians regarding the blood transfusion.



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