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On Breaking One's Neck Essay

942 words - 4 pages

I will argue that feminist ethics, when applied to medical treatment, is the most effective way to act upon medical decisions for the sake of the patient. According to The Complete Idiot’s Guide to: Understanding Ethics, “an ethic of care (feminist ethics)…argues for the moral value of caring and nurturing, and sees the highest moral good as caring for (and about) others.” (Ingram, Parks) During his recovery from a neck injury, Arnold Relman, author of the article On Breaking One’s Neck, found that the way he was treated by his physicians had a great effect on his mentality, as well as his recovery. In the grand scheme of medical care, feeling nurtured and cared about are the most important values for a positive recovery experience.
Some may argue that the quality of medical treatment and technology are the most important attributes to a successful recovery. Relman stayed at two hospital facilities during his recovery. The first was Massachusetts General Hospital, and the second was the Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital in Cambridge. Both facilities belonged to the Partners Health System and, therefore, had similar technologies available. Relman mentions multiple times that his care at Spaulding, as opposed to Massachusetts General, was “sometimes excellent but often inadequate.” (Relman) He came to these conclusions based on how he was personally treated as a patient, rather than based on the quality of the treatments. At Spaulding, multiple physicians treated Relman. His main physician went on vacation so multiple associates stepped in to check up on him throughout his stay. None of these associates made him feel comfortable as a patient. They tended strictly to his dire needs and did not spend much time with him beyond primary care. They did not tend to his complaints, state of mind, or requests. Relman “found only a few brief descriptions of how [he] felt or looked, but there were copious reports of the data from tests and monitoring devices. Conversations with [his] physicians were infrequent, brief, and hardly ever reported. (Relman) ” Relman, being a doctor himself, had seen the other side of treatment. It was not until the roles were switched that he truly realized how important nurturing is to recovery. He realized that it is important for patients to be mentally healthy in order to feel physically healthy. When a patient feels like he is cared about, he or she will feel motivated to recover. Relman said that he “had never before understood how much good nursing care contributes to patients’ safety and comfort, especially when they are very sick or disabled. (Relman)” Relman was more reliant on the optimism and personable attitudes of his caretakers than of the technology available at the hospital or the status of his doctors to have a positive experience and recovery....

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