Growing Unease at a Darker Side of the Medical Ethics Debate; MEDICAL, DEATHS

Article excerpt

Byline: PAUL RIDDELL

TO MANY it may seem as if the Michelle Paul case has generated more heat than shed light on the murky world of medical ethics.

But the reality is that the 15-year-old's death after she was refused a liver transplant has sparked a wide-ranging debate, not only among members of the public but within the medical profession.

The doctors insisted the decision not to operate on Michelle had been taken purely on medical grounds.

However, the doctors had begun probing into her background. If Michelle been well enough for a transplant the question arises, would the doctors have gone ahead with a [pounds sterling]60,000 operation on a girl who may not be able to cope with the postoperative care regime because of her history of bad behaviour and drug-taking?

The fact that medical practitioners throughout Britain have been paying close attention to the case suggests that there is some unease over whether moral decisions are made in such circumstances. …