Clinical Ethics criteria

You are working in a role assisting the work of the Clinical Ethics Committee of a large metropolitan teaching hospital in Melbourne and have been asked to produce a report on an urgent case. A clinician researcher Dr Stephen Strange developed a brain-computer interface (BCI) that he is testing with patients in the hospital that are in a minimally conscious state (MCS) as part of a study approved by the hospital human research ethics committee. Among other things, the device is able to translate brain activity into speech. Yesterday, the device was connected to John, a 40-year-old man that has been in MCS for two years. Before he is even asked a question, the BCI showed that John communicated the following, “I don’t want to live like this anymore. Please help me die.” Dr Strange has heard about the new voluntary-assisted dying (VAD) laws in Victoria but is unsure about the ethics of this case. Based on the information from the BCI, should John be offered VAD? Justify your answer


  • Introduction Structure- The introduction clearly and succinctly outlines the central question, thesis defended, all supporting arguments, and the structure of the paper.

What is the dilemma posed by the scenario? What are the ethical, legal, historical and

social reasons that make it a dilemma? Explain the stance you will take in the paper

and introduce the arguments that will support it. Each argument should be a point that

contributes a distinct perspective that confirms your thesis.


  • Paper is logically structured, with each point connecting to the next, and an appropriate amount of space is devoted to each component.


  • The paper succeeds in establishing its conclusion.



  • presents an informed review of the relevant academic literature and concepts related to the scenario

Present a background section that introduces the basic principles, evidence, and

events that the reader will need to understand your stance and supporting points.


  • Argumentation contains an accurate presentation of evidence, demonstrates rigorous analysis of key ethical, social and legal issues, and refers to key principles.

Develop each of the individual points making sure to always refer to the thesis and

stance they are meant to support. Show that you are engaging with evidence

(scientific, social, and historical) as well as conceptual work (normative,

philosophical) that help you to explain and justify your argument.



  • This criterion is linked to a Learning Outcome Opposing arguments and counterclaims are recognized and clearly critiqued as the stance is justified

What could be or has been said in response to the arguments you have chosen?

Acknowledge that there are other ways to approach the perspective you have

presented. Be sure to refute these counterarguments to help show why the perspective

you present is better justified.



  • Concludes by integrating and synthesizing the arguments and acknowledging any gaps in knowledge that may help to more easily resolve the dilemma
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