Sample Essay on Willowbrook Letters

The moral justice demands researchers to gain consent from the relevant authority before undertaking any experiment. In Willowbrook’s case, the researchers were unjustifiable to conduct an experiment on mentally disabled children without proper consent from their guardians. The statement “Krugman may believe that his experiments were for the benefit of his patients, meaning the individual patients used in the study” depict utilitarian notion. In this statement, the researcher aimed at maximizing happiness of the patients, but went beyond the rules of ethics. Although the experiment was meant to protect children from infections, involving their parents was necessary to avoid negative publicity.

The Kantian concept purports that while undertaking one’s duty, following the moral rules is imperative. “No doctor is ever justified in placing society or science first and his obligation to patient second. Any claim to act for the good of society should be regarded with distaste because it may be merely a high-flown expression to cloak outrageous acts”. This quotation demonstrated that Willbrook experiments were against the spirit of Kantian perspective. No matter what the outcomes of the experiments would have been, performing experiments with mentally disabled children was unjustifiable and against the Kantian theory of treating humanity as an end in itself, rather than as a means.

In the case of Dax’s refusing to be treated, the doctors’ refusal to allow Dax to die was an illustration of moral paternalism because they it was their duty to attend to their patient. The doctors were acting in accordance to the moral rules, which have no exceptions. It was the doctors’ duty to prevent Dax from dying, and to prevent him from killing himself. The categorical imperative rule asserts that individuals’ acts should correspond to the maxim that could become universal law. Dax’s mother was right to allow doctors to operate him, which eventually ends his pain. Killing is always unethical and assistance in killing goes against physicians’ responsibility to save people’s lives.