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Brain death is the permanent end of all brain activities, including spontaneous activities, which sustain life (Henneman & Karras 53). Brain death occurs after a complete necrosis of the cerebral neurons, which is caused by lack of oxygen in the brain. This usually occurs after severe brain damage or subarachnoid hemorrhage (Henneman & Karras 53). Since 1981, brain death has been accepted, legally and medically, as a legal definition of death. This allows a person to be declared legally dead once the brain stops working, even if the body metabolic processes can still function through the support of a life-supporting machine. In the United States, the Uniform Determination of Death Act provides guidelines for making a brain death diagnosis. The act provides that in diagnosis of brain death, a physician should first identify the cause of the coma, and then determine if the coma is irreversible or not. Then, clinical examinations to assess the overall responsiveness, apnea testing, and brain stem reflexes are conducted ((Henneman & Karras 53).
Organs of patients suffering from brain death can be surgically removed to help those in need. Such organs include the lungs, kidney, and heart. However, some religions do not support organ donation from patients suffering from brain death, citing that handling of dead body and bodily fluids is religiously unacceptable. So far, there is no medical report, which indicate that organ donation from patients suffering from brain death is unethical.
Euthanasia is voluntary termination of an individual’s life. It usually occurs when an individual is suffering from severe pain or an incurable condition (Ethics of Euthanasia). In many instances, euthanasia is carried out upon the request of an individual. However, relatives, physicians, or courts may sometimes make the decision if an individual is too ill to make the decision on his/her own. The practice is illegal in many countries such as the UK, where voluntary euthanasia or assisted suicide attracts a jail term of up to 14 years. Over the years, there has been a heated debate concerning the religious and ethical considerations of euthanasia. Ethical arguments raise a number of moral dilemmas such as when euthanasia is justifiable, if it is right to terminate the life of a terminally ill person who is experiencing severe pain, and if there is a moral difference between letting a person to die and killing (Ethics of Euthanasia). Some people argue that euthanasia should be allowed, citing that people have a right to die, while others argue that euthanasia should not be allowed because it can be used to cover murder.
Over the years, practitioners in the medical filed have encountered various clinical trial dilemmas. For instance, in 1950, a sedative drug, known as thalidomide was introduced for curing morning sickness. However, in 1961, the drug was withdrawn after medical researchers discovered it caused birth defects, resulting to permanent disabilities to children born by mothers who used this drug during their pregnancies (McKenzie 231). In many instances, medical practitioners commence use of certain treatments after discovering them and without subjecting them to tests to verify if they are harmful or not. Later, such treatments may proof to be too costly and time consuming, causing major effects to patients’ families. In the medical field, clinical trials dilemmas experienced due to poor planning are viewed as a waste of resources, and unethical. Clinicians are always advised to validate all forms of treatment by identifying their potential harms and benefits, before subjecting them to clinical trials.
When designing a project, it is always important to consider the social effects of such a project, both direct and indirect effects. Socially responsible projects are those projects that concentrate on eliminating all the possible negative effects to the society. Social responsibility in a project can be achieved by conducting a social feasibility study during the project design phase. This entails identifying all possible negative effects of a given project to the society, and then developing ways of eliminating/minimizing the effects. Moreover, during the design phase, a prototype project can be used to identify these negative effects.