Ethics and the Media Project- Greys Anatomy
For this Media Project, I chose to watch an episode of a Grey’s Anatomy that contains a medical ethics dilemma. I watched Season 2 of Grey’s Anatomy, Episode 23 “Blues for Sister Someone.” In this episode, a woman asks Dr. Addison Shepherd to clandestinely tie her fallopian tubes (tubal ligation) while she gives birth to her 7th child through C-section. She does not wish to have any more children (seven is already a huge burden), but her devout Catholic husband does not allow birth control. Hence, she pleads Addison to help end her childbearing abilities (tying her tubes would be permanent birth control). She begs Dr. Shepherd to do the ...view middle of the document...
Additionally, the reputation of Dr. Shepherd’s associate (Alex Karev) during the procedure, the hospital, other employees of the hospital (nurses, surgeons, etc) are all affected.
The perspective of the wife is that she has autonomy over her body and has the right to decide whether or not she wants to continue having children. She already is exhausted from her current six children; she has gone to the hospital from dehydration and exhaustion from forgetting to drink water for 3 days because she was so busy taking care of her kids. With the birth of this seventh child, she has had enough. She does not want to bear any more children. She believes that God will understand her situation and her reasons for choosing and that she will be forgiven for giving up her fertility.
On the other hand, her husband Chris is a devout Catholic that follows everything that his religion insists. The Pope says that birth control is not allowed, so he is against letting his wife take birth control. To a Catholic, they live to reproduce; hence you are not supposed to use any form of contraception as a Catholic. Tying tubes is viewed as a form of contraception.
It’s also important to consider the perspectives of the physicians involved with the decision making process in this dilemma. From the perspective of Dr. Shephard, the patient is her sole obligation and helping a patient get what they wish is important. On the other hand, her associate Alex Karev is against tying the woman’s tubes. He believes that the husband is not abusing her and should not be lied to. Also, it goes against legal regulations to perform a procedure off record.
I believe that the best outcome in this situation is to perform the fallopian tube procedure as the patient requests, but to not keep it hidden from medical records and not to keep it a secret from the husband. Even though this decision may go against natural law (tying tubes goes against nature and Catholic rule) and may go against non-maleficence (tying tubes may create complications as all surgeries have risks), I believe the benefits outweigh the costs.
This dilemma should be reviewed with the situation-based feminist concept, as emotion and relationships plays a big role in this situation. Deciding to perform the procedure acts out of the agent-based concept of virtue, as the physician would be acting with justice and mercy (give the wife mercy and relieve her of the burden of more future children). This decision ultimately respects the patient’s autonomy, as she has the right to make decisions about her body. Following the deontological theory, she is a legal adult that is...