An anonymous couple from Malta traveled to England this past year for a complicated delivery of their Siamese twin daughters, Jodie, and Mary, who were
An anonymous couple from Malta traveled to England this past year for a complicated
delivery of their Siamese twin daughters, Jodie, and Mary, who were born on August 8,
2000, joined at the abdomen and with a fused spine. Doctors soon determined that unless
the twins were surgically separated, both would die. Mary, the weaker twin, whose brain
was underdeveloped, would never be able to survive separated from Jodie. Jodie, who
was strong and alert, had an 80-90% chance of dying if surgery was not performed. She
had a good chance of surviving in the event of surgery, although, likely she would be
severely handicapped and need medical attention throughout her life. In similar cases in
the past, the surviving twin has sometimes died within six months of surgery. In other
cases, neither twin survives. The medical team at St Mary’s Hospital, to which the twins
were taken, had never done a successful separation of Siamese twins.
When the medical team suggested surgical separation, the parents, who were Roman
Catholic, refused on religious and moral grounds to give their consent. The Hospital went
to court, pleading that life-saving surgery was in Jodie’s best interest, and that saving one
of the twins would be morally preferable to losing both. The presiding judge acknowledged
the court’s duty "to put the welfare of each child paramount," but, nonetheless, concluded
that Jodie’s right to life outweighed Mary’s, thus ruling in favor of the Hospital.
The parents appealed the decision of the court. In support of the parents’ position,
Archbishop Cormac Murphy-O’Connor, head of the Catholic Church of England and
Wales, submitted a statement to the court of appeals in which he said:
Though the duty to preserve life is a serious duty; no such duty exists when the only
available means of preserving life involves a grave injustice. In this case, if what is
envisaged is the killing of, or a deliberate lethal assault on, one of the twins, Mary, to save
the other, Jodie, then there is a grave injustice involved.
Despite the objections of the parents and the archbishop, the court of appeals ruled that
the surgery should go forward. On November 7, 2000, a team of twenty surgeons, nurses,
and technicians at St. Mary’s Hospital performed the 20-hour surgery that would result in
the death of Mary and give Jodie a chance to live.
QUESTION: Is the decision to perform the surgery the most rational and ethical thing to do?
1. In the first paragraph write the introduction and background
2. in the second paragraph write your analysis and Evaluation
3. In the third paragraph write you justification
4. In the fourth paragraph write your recommendations.
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