The case study findings indicate a low chance for lymphoma patients to live for more than six months after receiving a diagnosis of the disease. Patients already afflicted with various neurological illnesses have a life expectancy that is dramatically reduced when they are diagnosed with cancer. On the other hand, there is a chance that these patients’ life expectancies will be extended due to the chemotherapy treatment they get. On top of that, physicians believe there is a twenty percent chance that chemotherapy will cure lymphoma; this is one of the reasons why they think it is essential to try and treat the disease (Patel et al., 2020). Lymphomas can occasionally spread to the peripheral nervous system and cause symptoms. When it happens, the diagnosis might be challenging to identify because many people present themselves without any prior knowledge of lymphoma. This paper seeks to analyze how lymphoma and neurological condition contributes short lifespan to patients.
Non-lymphoma Hodgkin’s (NHL), which invades nerves and causes axonal injury, is the most common cause of difficulties with peripheral nerves. This condition can affect nerve roots and cranial nerves and is frequently accompanied by lymphomatous meningitis (Eichenauer et al., 2018). In addition, NHL has the potential to infiltrate peripheral nerves, which can then lead to plexopathy, mononeuropathy, or widespread neuropathy.
Jimmy’s neurological condition, which has rendered all of his organs dysfunctional, is one of the other factors contributing to his expected lifespan reduction. Any damage to the brain, since its neurons are in charge of regulating all of the body’s activities, will affect the neurological system and may even result in conditions such as cerebral palsy, which impair the ability to move and control one’s limbs (Eichenauer et al., 2018). Jimmy already has a weakened immune system due to his neurological illness, which, along with his limited mobility, has made it easier for him to develop lymphoma. When treating lymphoma using chemotherapy drugs, the treatment may kill not only cancer cells but also other healthy cells in the body. Since Jimmy is already afflicted with a neurological illness, the administration of chemotherapy could result in an even more significant reduction in cell immunity, which would, in turn, shorten his lifespan.
Prima Facie Duty
Jimmy’s condition must be explained in a way that is understandable to his parents by providing a detailed account of the many outcomes that could result from the chemotherapy. It will allow them to consider their options and conclude that it is in their child’s best interest. Additionally, since the parents are having difficulty coming to terms with the possibility of losing their child, they must participate in psychological counseling sessions to be prepared for the worst-case scenario while anticipating the best possible outcome.
It is always essential to use a prima facie principle while discussing Jimmy’s conditions with his parents. This is because the situation puts both the patient and the parents in a dilemma. Therefore, it is essential to keep this in mind at all times. The doctor should be forthright and truthful about the condition. The principle of autonomy states that individuals have the inherent freedom to direct their own lives in whatever manner they deem appropriate, provided that their actions do not infringe upon the rights of others. This ethical precept is analogous to the political virtue of free action and expression, which is guaranteed by the Constitution of the United States of America and the founding documents of other open societies (Hirani*, 2018). In this situation, however, it applies not simply as a restriction against the government but rather as an obligation for all moral agents: we should allow people to make their own decisions and to live as they wish, so long as the exercise of this freedom does not interfere with our ability to exercise our rights. There are two settings where the ethical requirement of autonomy can come into play. First, we have the right not to have others’ acts interfere with our ability to pursue our interests when those actions are sufficient on their own as a way to do so. This is referred to as the right to noninterference. However, in situations where we need the assistance of other people to achieve our goals, such as a cancer patient who needs the assistance of an experienced surgeon to remove cancer, we have the right to control the actions others take for our benefit. This includes situations in which we need the assistance of others to achieve our goals (Hirani*, 2018). However, things get more complicated if the patient in question is a minor. Even though the patient has the right to select what they feel is in their best interest, the patient’s parents have the ultimate authority to decide on their behalf.
Due to the circumstances presented in the case study, one is placed in a state of a moral problem because it would not be immoral to accept Jimmy’s decision and forego therapy. It gives the impression that the parents are negligent and unwilling to explore all options to save their child’s life. On the other hand, if Jimmy’s decision is overruled, this diminishes his right to make decisions (Sehn, & Salles, 2021). However, to extend my son’s life, I would go against his will and continue with the treatment given to me, but if it proved too difficult for him to handle or if it was ineffective, I would stop the treatment and look into other options. Children’s brains at 11 are not fully mature, and they cannot make decisions about crucial situations. Therefore, the decision of the parents has to be adhered to because they are the ones who have the authority to consent to the conduct of the child.
In conclusion, it is extremely important for physicians to carry out medical procedures on patients based on an informed consent, which can come from either an individual patient or as a shared obligation between multiple patients. It will prevent responsibility from being assigned to either party in situations when there is uncertainty. People are able to exercise more freedom and control over their life when they provide their informed permission.
Eichenauer, D. A., Aleman, B. M. P., André, M., Federico, M., Hutchings, M., Illidge, T., Engert, A., & Ladetto, M. (2018). Hodgkin lymphoma: Esmo clinical practice guidelines for diagnosis, treatment and follow-up. Annals of Oncology, 29, iv19–iv29.
Hirani*, S. A. A. (2018). Respecting parent’s cultural beliefs or saving child’s life: An ethical dilemma surrounding blood transfusion. Lupine Publishers.
Patel, D. R., Neelakantan, M., Pandher, K., & Merrick, J. (2020). Cerebral palsy in children: A clinical overview. Translational Pediatrics, 9(S1).
Sehn, L. H., & Salles, G. (2021). Diffuse large B-cell lymphoma. New England Journal of Medicine, 384(9), 842–858.