case study

1136 words 5 pages
Scott Starson: Refusing treatment while Incompetent…

Date Submitted: Monday, November 23rd 2014
Course: Biomedical Ethics (online class)

Scott Starson, a brilliant physicist has been in and out of mental institutions due to his bipolar disorder. He was lastly admitted again after he made death threats to his roommates and was found not criminally responsible for that offense. His physicians suggested different sorts of treatment for his illness. Scott Starson refused to give consent to the treatment for reason that he had a scientific research to finish and he didn’t want the medications to slow him down. His physicians not finding him competent enough to critically make that kind of decision, brought the case
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Therefore this proves that it was with full awareness of consequences that he made his decision, this also implies that he was mentally capable to make a medical decision, meaning that he had the right to make his own medical decisions. One could easily argue that it was for his best interest that his decisions were invalidated, but in this kind of medical misunderstanding, the patient’s decisions are not overturned based on a best-interest standards but on the level of the patient’s competency when choosing.5

Nevertheless, the court’s decision could also be considered wrong or morally incorrect. The case should have been studied more before any decision being taken and more facts should have been considered. Bipolar disorder does not get better with time, but it instead gets worse if not treated (the episodes become more frequent and more severe, and only the treatment can reduce the severity of the disorder)6. Mr. Starson refused the treatment because it would slow down his thinking, which would affect his research, and according to him the success of his research is all that matters; to quote him exactly, he says that “anything preventing him from engaging in the scientific research that gave his life a meaning is worse than death”7. From his statement, we clearly see that his decision is made in the sole purpose to salvage his research, without

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