What Are Some Examples of Historic U.S. Medical Ethics Court Cases?


Quick Answer

Some examples of historic United States medical ethics court cases would be the New York State Association for Retarded Children v. Carey, Moore v. Board of Regents and Bouvia v. Superior Court. These court cases all were historic because the decision made in each case is referred to on an ongoing basis in continuing court cases and changed the way that medical ethics are conducted.

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In Moore v. Board of Regents, John Moore had treatment at UCLA for hairy cell leukemia. His discarded body part during the treatment was later used to create a cell line that was commercialized. This was done against Moore's will. In the end, the courts decided that Moore did not have property rights of his discarded body part, and it was not his right to share in the financial gain. However, the court did rule that he could sue the doctor for not disclosing his commercial plans.

In Bouvia v. Superior Court, Elizabeth Bouvia was forced to live with a feeding tube after she stopped eating due to her desire to die. Bouvia was bedridden and was wholly dependent upon other people for her survival. She could not support herself and could not care for herself. The California Court believed that Bouvia should be force fed and that she should not be allowed to starve herself. The Superior Court, however, ruled against this ruling and stated that all people should be in charge of choosing what medical care to accept. The court ruled that if Bouvia did not wish to accept medical care, such as a feeding tube, then she should not be subjected to it.

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