Decline, saying you object to them going to the hospital

Choosing this option, I stay true to my personal beliefs that the members of the community should, as a general rule, continue to give birth in a safer environment which, in most cases, is the home. I am transparent with the community members by telling them why I am declining to give them a ride. But is doing the ‘right’ thing according to my belief system really the most ethical choice?

What about the values at risk here?

Respect for Persons
Beneficence
Justice
My Decision
Respect for persons:

By declining the request, I am interfering with my friend’s ability to make autonomous decisions. By asserting my own opinion over his, I am, essentially, making his decision for him, disrespecting and patronizing him. Given our differences in access and his vulnerable status, this action seems an even greater violation of this value.

I am, however, respecting myself, and my informants, by being transparent about how I feel and making autonomous decisions based on my own values of preventing unnecessary biomedical interference.

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Beneficence:
This value is tricky to assess in this case. If no other ride is found and the mother and baby suffer from complications during birth, this choice has potential to cause great harm to the most vulnerable community members. If there are no complications, the benefit of not needing a doctor for a successful birth and vindicating traditional birthing practices has potential to be of great benefit.

This choice does not greatly benefit me as a researcher because turning down requests does not place me in a favorable light and also violates the principles of reciprocity that I hold as important. I may be thought of as mean, trusted less and receive less communication of a personal nature, which may jeopardize my position and that of the research project as a whole.

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Justice:
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.

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My Decision:
Well, although this was my most desired choice on a personal level, I did not choose this option. The violation of all three core ethical values made this choice too unattractive to me. As with all my decisions in the field, I needed to put my informants safety and desires before my own ideas. In this case, I feel strongly about the over-diagnosis of medical problems during pregnancy and the toll that has on the way women feel about their bodies. I resisted the urge to weigh these feelings more heavily than the other factors and values at work in this case.

What would you do?

Agree, with no further discussion or interference

By choosing this option, I show humility and deference- simply facilitating the wishes of the family. I, in one sense, show that I am the impartial researcher, simply observing what is happening while still offering a little help in redressing the issues of access that are present. I ...

Defend this Choice!

Agree, but explain that they are in a position to disagree with the doctor’s recommendation

By choosing this option, I am able to give my friend and informant what he has asked for in terms of help but I still am able to express my opinion about what I think is a viable alternative. By leaving the ultimate decision up to him, I value ...

Defend this Choice!

Decline, saying you object to them going to the hospital

Choosing this option, I stay true to my personal beliefs that the members of the community should, as a general rule, continue to give birth in a safer environment which, in most cases, is the home. I am transparent with the community members by telling them why I am ...

Defend this Choice!

Decline, saying you don’t ever give rides to anyone

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 ...

Defend this Choice!

Posted in Bringing Babies to Biomedicine

What do you think?

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