Markkula Center of Applied Ethics

Ethics Cases

Medical Ethics Cases

Drug Pushers: The Ethics of Pharmaceutical Marketing
Peggy Connolly, Ruth Ann Althaus, Robert Boyd Skip
Focus: Can physicians be objective in prescribing when they are plied with free samples, gifts, and consulting fees?

A Case of Conscientious Refusal: Rights and Responsibilities
Margaret R. McLean
Focus: A Pharmacist Refuses to Fill a Prescription for Contraception.

An Ethics Case About Managing MRSA: Stage 1
Jack Penner
Focus: The ethical issues at various stages of an outbreak of Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus

Outbreak: Discussion Module
Kari Kjos
Focus: Materials on developing pharmaceuticals for the Developing World, based on the case, The Outbreak, on this Web site.

From Chronic to Critical: A Latino Family Confronts End-of-Life Decisions
Karen Peterson-Iyer
Focus: A case study of an elderly Puerto Rican immigrant to the United States suffering from the effects of diabetes.

A Difficult Birth: Navigating Language and Cultural Differences
Karen Peterson-Iyer
Focus: A case about Undocumented Parents and a Difficult Birth

Cancer: A Failure to Communicate
Karen Peterson-Iyer
Focus: A case study of how cultural misunderstandings interfere with medical care for a cancer patient.

Confronting a Fetal Abnormality: Sensitivity to a Muslim Patient
Karen Peterson-Iyer
Focus: A case study raising issues of culturally competent health care for a Muslim woman.

Balancing Nonprofit Interests
Jessica Silliman
Focus: Should an HIV/AIDS program focus on prevention or treatment?

End-of-Life Decision Making: Medical Care for a Conserved Patient
Elizabeth Menkin
Focus: A physician has questions for a public guardian in charge of the medical care for a conserved patient.

End-of-Life Decision Making for Patients With Dementia
Elizabeth Menkin
Focus: A public guardian must make decisions for a 78 year-old woman with severe dementia, and multiple illnesses.

The Case of the Depressed Patient
Melinda Lee
Focus: A doctor must decide if a patient's decision to stop dialysis is motivated by depression.

The Outbreak
Kirk O. Hanson
Focus: This fictionalized case addresses the ethical issues confronting governments, NGOs, and pharmaceutical companies when faced with an epidemic.

Pharmaceutical Decisions in Response to Epidemics: A Case Study
Markkula Center for Applied Ethics
Focus: A video presentation, from the Ethics Center Conference, "The Future of Pharmaceuticals," which was held Oct. 3, 2003.

Cases in Medical Ethics: Student-Led Discussions
Chris Cirone
Focus: A selection of medical ethics cases designed to help determine whether medicine is the correct calling for pre-medical students.

Shhhhhhh, Don't Tell
Wolfe, Smith, McLean, Shanks
Focus: What should a physical therapist do when she suspects that her patient isn't being entirely honest with his physician?

We've Got You Covered
Wolfe, Williams, Smith, Silvestri, McLean
Focus: Covering for an incompetent RN creates problems for patients.

The Sole Remaining Supplier
Thomas Shanks
Focus: What are the ethical questions involved when a company is the only supplier of a high-risk, life-saving product?

The Long Distance Cancer Treatment
Thomas Shanks
Focus: Does an HMO have a responsibility to provide care at the closest possible medical center?

The Acupuncture Alternative
Anh Tran, S.J.
Focus: Do physicians have a duty to refer patients to alternative forms of therapy?