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Bio Ethics

Essay by review  •  December 9, 2010  •  Essay  •  712 Words (3 Pages)  •  655 Views

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The movie "Wit" is a first person account of the destructive power of cancer and how futile the situation becomes for the main character. Vivian Bearing the main character of the movie is a professor of poetry who is diagnosed with stage IV ovarian cancer. Ms. Bearing agrees to a "aggressive" treatment plan to combat the cancer. After a long and hard struggle with the chemo and radiation therapy, with no improvement to her health she decides in case of a cardiac arrest she be allowed to die. This paper will try to understand Ms. Bearings decision and why her solution might have been the best under the circumstances.

The facts are that Ms. Bearing has stage IV Cancer, and the chances from the beginning are bad. Stage IV cancer is the last stage in the disease and is almost always terminal. Cancer cells are abnormal cells that divide unchecked and overtime accumulate mutations that intern make the cancer "immune" from the individuals immune system. In other words the persons body can't kill the disease. Major factors in stage IV cells is the inability for the cell to commit apoptosis, the ability to invade into other tissues and also be able to use the circulatory system to spread to other parts of the body.

Treatment for cancer is unrefined and dangerous not just to the cancer cells but also to the normal cells. Ms. Bearing decides to go through with an experimental treatment that uses strong doses of chemo and radiation therapy and so her journey through months of treatment and pain begin. The chemo part of the therapy is aimed at stopping or at least slowing down the spread of cancer throughout the body. The radiation treatments try to create more mutations in the cancer cells in hopes of triggering those cells to commit apoptosis or suicide. In the movie it becomes clear that the treatment does not work and that there is no change for the better. Towards the conclusion of the movie the nurse informs Ms. Bearing about her options incase her heart stops. At this point Vivian let the doctors know that when her heart stops, to let her die.

The two major norms in Vivian Bearings decision are Autonomy and beneficence. Autonomy or the right to choose is very important in this movie, Vivian chooses to go through with the treatments and ultimately is left to decide what's best for her in the end. Beneficence is another important ideal, for the doctors it was to try to cure her from the disease,

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