If I give a ride to this family, how do I choose who to give rides to and what reasons are justified for me to spend hours driving? By choosing not to give the ride, I neither condone nor condemn birthing in the hospital- I stay out of the conversation and disrupt the normal pattern of life as little as possible. I have more time for my research and I allow access to medical birthing to proceed as it would if I were not there. But is this really an ethical choice? How will I feel if something happens to the baby and I might have helped prevent it?
Respect for Persons
Respect for persons:
By not giving a ride, I disrespect my informants’ decision to follow their doctor’s suggestion, not only denying assistance but also denying their right to make the best choice they can make for them. I also deny access to my resources, violating the respect for my informants that come with my value of reciprocity. They have shared their resources on multiple occasions- it seems unfair for me to deny mine when they are requested.
However, I can argue that not interfering might actual save the mother and baby from the potential harm of undergoing a medically-unnecessary procedure. They might actually benefit from having to stay home and not have to undergo the long and arduous journey to the hospital. The traditional attendants have been present at the first 6 of the mother’s births and she has had no problems.
Benefits to me personally are that I uphold my values of minimal biomedical interference and support for women trusting their bodies and traditional birthing systems.
In terms of my position as a researcher, benefits are possible, as are potential harms. If the baby is born healthy at home, the project has avoided becoming too involved in personal decisions and open to potentially difficult decisions about which family to help. Alternatively, if there are problems with the birth, the project may be harmed by seeing unwilling to help community members in need and not providing reciprocity for the cooperation of the community in the research process.
The decision violates the value of justice in that it may potentially put a vulnerable person in further jeopardy by denying access to medical care.