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In the case study presented for this assignment, a young family discovers that the wife’s pregnancy is developing abnormally. After consultations, the pair chooses to go on with the pregnancy, requiring a lot of effort and numerous operations to save the newborn child. The child grows up and is in better health than what was expected, and the parents choose to have another child despite the high likelihood of genetic defects. However, the insurance company refuses to cover another pregnancy based on the first child’s outcomes. This study investigates the ethical issues surrounding both the past and the present situations.
Abnormal Pregnancies and Resource Allocation
Significant efforts were necessary to save the first child of the couple, as multiple operations and highly attentive care were required. One could argue that this situation represents potentially mishandled resource allocation. There could have been other pregnancies and babies that did not receive sufficient attention because of the needs of the family investigated here. While no information is available concerning the specific situation of the case study, the incident raises several ethical concerns related to potential scarcity of resources and the financial status of the family.
The first concern is a hypothetical situation where the resources employed to save the child’s life do not go to other babies as a result, leading to adverse outcomes and potentially to death. It is my opinion that if medical professionals are aware that devoting attention to a case where survival and continued health are unlikely would put other children’s health at risk, they should concentrate on the second category. The second concern is whether an indigent family would be able to support the child. I believe that the decision lies with the parents, and healthcare workers should inform them of the risks and adhere to their choice.
Insurance Companies and Genetic Defects
As mentioned above, the parents are planning on having another child, even though genetic testing has confirmed that the child will most likely exhibit abnormalities. However, the insurance company refuses to cover the pregnancy due to the issues with the first birth and not because of the testing results. It is my opinion that the parents’ rights are not compromised by the decision and that the company is correct in its actions. The couple is free to have another child if they wish, but they should also bear the responsibility for knowingly taking a severe risk. It is illogical for the company to take a significant and highly likely loss solely because the people who make the decision do not want to accept the consequences.
The second issue is whether the company should have access to the results of the testing, as it paid for the procedure. From the standpoint of business ethics, I believe it should, as the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act should protect the parents from abuse of the information (U.S. National Library of Medicine, 2019). However, as Abrams (n.d.) notes, the law does not cover aspects such as disability and long-term care insurance, and so it might be best for patients if the company does not gain access to the data. As such, my opinion is that the company should receive the relevant data by asking the family instead of having the entire results available to them.
After reviewing the family’s case, I have concluded that the treatment the first child received would constitute improper resource allocation in a scarcity scenario. I also decided that the family should decide pregnancy outcomes regardless of its financial status. With regards to the second child, I believe that the company is correct in refusing coverage for the second pregnancy. However, I do not think that it should have direct access to the results of genetic testing.
Abrams, C. (n.d.). Genetic testing and life insurance (everything you need to know). Web.
U.S. National Library of Medicine. (2019). What is genetic discrimination? Web.