Week 6 Assignment – Case Study: Health Care Ethics
Read the following case study and respond to the question below.
26-year-old jet pilot and sometime rodeo performer Donald Cowart was standing in a field with his father when there was a violent explosion caused by leaking gas. The explosion killed his father and sent Donald, whose body was engulfed in flames, running for half a mile. When a farmer found him, Cowart, who was in excruciating pain from burns covering more than 65 percent of his body, asked for a gun so he could kill himself. The farmer refused his request and called an ambulance. Cowart asked the paramedics not to drive him to the hospital but to leave him in the field to die. They instead administered life-saving measures and took him to the hospital.
Cowart lost both his eyes and all his fingers and underwent several operations for skin grafts and amputations. After he was released from the hospital, Cowart attempted suicide several times. Eventually, he completed a law degree. Cowart frequently speaks at medical conferences on issues relating to euthanasia. He still insists that the hospital staff who treated him for his burns violated his right to self-determination in keeping him alive (1).
Question: Should Cowart have been allowed to die when he requested it?
1. Judith Boss. 2020. Analyzing Moral Issues. p. 144. McGraw-Hill Higher Education 7th edition textbook available at https://www.strayerbookstore.com.