Unit 7 Assignment, Part 1
In “Disowning Knowledge: Issues in Genetic Testing” (pp. 585-589), Robert Wachbroit examines the issues of restricting genetic tests and people’s right to know and not to know his genetic information.
1. On what grounds should the availability of genetic tests be restricted? Are these reasons for restricting genetic tests defensible? Why or why not?
· Availability of genetic testing should be restricted in two broad categories, the first one being the conservation of time resources towards the subject that is being particularly tested. The first category is defensible since genetic testing itself is a type of procedure that has so many unknown phenomena under itself, there are so many why’s and uncertainties. The whole genome of a human itself is not yet fully understood. Knowing that there is so much uncertainty on the genetic testing itself, and as Robert W. stated, (i.e. the BRCA1 gene is the gene that is getting mutated which ultimately leads to breast cancer has so many mutated forms and many female has this although only the one with previous history of breast cancer manifests the cancer itself) If every female is getting tested for this, without the other clues that leads to a conclusion that she might have a breast cancer, then the test is nothing but a waste of time and resources. The second set of restriction is about the social and or psychological harms that an individual might experience by knowing the results, This one is barely defensible because of the patient's autonomy. It is the patient’s right to know. If they requested for genetic screening, and they think that they need to obtain that particular knowledge then it must be made available for the patient. May it have a psychological and or social effects, the patient has the right to obtain the result and it's up to them what to do with those results, they can either fight and or prevent further damage and or they could decide what they could with their remaining lifetime. Robert W.’s second restriction is too paternalistic, and medicine has evolved from paternalism to what it is now.
2. Should physicians allow their patients to suffer psychological harm that genetic knowledge might bring (such as the risk of contracting Alzheimer’s disease), when there is little if anything medicine can do to prevent or ameliorate the condition?
· Telling the patient that they are susceptible to a particular disease doesn’t always result to psychological harm. Every individual has a different outlook in life. One might decide to make the most of his or her life while they are still sane (alzheimer’s disease wise), or maybe one might decide to try different approach in terms of treatments (i.e. holistic or western). It is the physician’s duty to tell the patient the truth about his or her condition, and it’s up to the patient to decide what to do with that...