Discuss whether individuals should have the right to undergo cryonics. Discuss the moral, ethical, and legal implications of legalizing cryonics for chronically ill patients. Reference any federal laws applicable to this scenario.
Use as references any of this sources:
In two diferent paragraph give your personal opinion to Colin Preston and Paula Switzer
Cryonics is the field of science where a person, after death, is frozen in the expectation that there will be a cure for whatever caused their death. When a treatment or cure is found in the future, the corpse would be thawed and treated. There is no evidence that this will be successful, and the use of cryonics is speculative at best. (Hospital News)
There are currently no US laws that expressly forbid the practice of cryonics but there are laws that apply both in favor and against the treatment of human “remains”. There are laws that regulate the appropriate treatment of a corpse in order to preserve dignity and public health. These laws typically apply to funeral homes or prohibit people from performing burials without a license. There are laws that could be construed as supportive of cryonics. These laws address the donation of a body for medical research. (Bridge, 1994)
A person does have broad and significant rights in terms of what they can decide can be done with their body upon death. The person could choose traditional burial, cremation, have their ashes scattered, or donate their body for the purpose of scientific research. A person, I believe should have the right to make these decisions. (Bridge, 1994)
The moral implications of opting for cryonics is up to the individual and their hope for a cure at some point in the future. Ethically, this practice, while not widely accepted or regulated, is still a concept that may be gaining popularity and support. Legally, as stated above, is not expressly prohibited and there are labs that perform this service throughout the country. (Shanbhag, 2017)
At this point the practice has no proven benefit and may be more of a psychological comfort to a person or family who may not be able to accept their terminal situation. If potentially “quack” science provides solace, and no one is harmed, why not allow people to hang on to hope and undergo this process.
Fun Read: Ted Williams was one of the greatest baseball players of all time. After his death two of his three children fought to have his remains cryonically frozen. See the reference below to read the bizarre story about the battle between his children and the mistreatment of his remains by the cryonics lab. (Funeral Industry News, 2019)
Purtilo, R., Doherty, R. (102015). Ethical Dimensions in the Health Professions, 6th Edition. [VitalSource Bookshelf 9.2]. Retrieved from (vbk://9780323328920)
Smith, K., Bianchi A., Hospital News, Ethical Issues of Cryonics, Retrieved from (https://hospitalnews.com/ethical-issues-of-cryonics/)
Shanbhag, V., Journal of the Scientific Society, Vol. 44 2017, Assessment Of Ethical Aspects Of Cryonics: An Emerging Technology, Retrieved from (http://www.jscisociety.com/article.asp?issn=0974-5009;year=2017;volume=44;issue=2;spage=63;epage=66;aulast=Shanbhag)
Medical advances have not structure that is why we study bioethics. Bioethics con concerns ethical questions about living people “or the science of living systems” (Oxford, 2020). In this case cryonics concerns people who are not alive therefore there are not many legalities because laws protect the living.
When you look health care, it increases life expectancy and so does cryonics just after technology is available “modern medicine and medical technologies have led to a “dramatic extensions” of life – and more” (NPR, 2020). I concluded current technology saves lives why couldn’t future technology help patients that had their life cut short because of cancer “the moral argument for an unfixed life span is rooted in the dignity and worth of human life” (Alcor, 2020). And then I pondered patients who die and are resuscitate back to life. Compared to cryonic patients who will be resuscitated later in life.
As a student, I have learned to resolve ethical dilemmas I need to look at the four principles. Oxford University Press (2020), lists the four principles as autonomy, non-maleficence, beneficence and justice. After researching Alcor Life Extension Foundation (2020). Justice means lacking judgement on those that chose cryonics. Beneficence is for the good, I feel one shouldn’t be bias between those who are brought back to life through resuscitation verses those brought back to life later by cryonic.
Additionally, non-maleficence is difficult to analyze because cryonics is still in early stages. However, when you look at autonomy principle, there are two parts. The patient is informed of the process allowed to make his/her own individual choice. Per Alcor Life Extension Foundation (2020), patients walk through the facility and receive information on how their body is preserved. They even have appointed power of attorney if their remains need disposing due to lack of funding. My problem with agreeing if this is ethical is, if years pass and the company changes hands or technology reaches the to the point of science fiction will the patient’s autonomy be forgotten “ temporal concerns also feature when we interpret welfare in terms of happiness…and the (potential) future reanimated person might have different interests at different times” (Law, 2018). Therefore, the risk of autonomy may be lost in another century or so which means it may lose the ethical, morality and legal stance it has today.
Alcor Life Extension Foundation (2020). The Legal Status of Cryonics Patients. Retrieved from https://alcor.org/Library/html/legalstatus.html#:`:text=there%20are%20no%20state%20or.no%20laws%20APPLY%20to%20cryonics
BIOETHICS. (2001). In Oxford Illustrated Companion to Medicine (p. 105). Oxford University Press, 2001. Retrieved from https;//wwwhttps://eds-b-ebscohost-com.libauth.purdueglobal.edu/eds/detail/detail?vid=3&sid=f3afd8a1-4761-43b2-9cf6-630dae772f78%40pdc-v-sessmgr05&bdata=JnNpdGU9ZWRzLWxpdmU%3d#AN=7370993&db=hxh
Law, R. (2018). Cryonics in the Courtroom: Which Interests? Whose Interests? Medical Law Review, 26(3), 476–499. https://doi.org/10.1093/medlaw/fwx045
NPR (2020). Doctor considers the Pitfalls of Extending Life and Prolonging Death. Retrieved from https://www.npor.org/sections/health-shots/2017/01/30/512426568/doctor-considers-the-pitfalls-of-extending-life-and-prolonging-death
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