Tag Archives: Respect

Week 5: Reflection


This week’s reflection will be short and sweet as I spent alot of time on my original blog post arguing both sides. I will therefore reflect of what I’ve learned and concluded from my fellow participants’ blog posts on this sensitive and controversial subject of assisted-dying.


I really identified with other participants, who felt uncomfortable and unsure about their opinions on assisted-dying.  I had to challenge my own opinions and really try and see both sides of the argument for/against assisted-dying.  Wendy said that “we should just to stick to the clear moral path that Killing is Wrong and we should always strive to save lives and to enhance the quality of life”.  On the other hand, Jackie concluded that “because we will never truly understand and empathize with somebody who legitimately requests for assisted suicide, the bottom line is that assisted suicide is “necessary” and it should be allowed for severe and extreme cases but it must never be abused by patient or physician”. I don’t think that there will ever be a consensus on this topic, just as abortion has been legalised, although the majority believes this still to be wrong.  I completely agreed with Kim’s opinion that we should respect and support the decisions of our patients without judgement.


What I have realised in life, is that when you are in a certain phase of your life, it is impossible to imagine how you would react or feel about a certain topic at another time in your life, when you are experiencing something you’ve never experienced and are faced with difficult decisions you’ve never had to consider.  As I discussed in my original Week 5 blog post, I cannot make hard and fast decisions and form opinions about something I have never faced as currently my life has a different meaning than what it would if I have children, or if I have a terminal illness.  I also cannot judge another human being for wanting to end his/her suffering.  Who are we to judge?  As discussed in my original blog post, the story of the South African Professor who assisted his mother to end her life and fulfill her last human right, made me think that, given the situation and how it impacts your life, I would do that for my mother.  Seeing someone suffer and in constant physical or emotional pain, breaks your heart.  I agree with Jarryd comparing human assisted-dying with euthanasia of our pets.  We as humans choose to end the life by euthanasia of a beloved pet who is suffering when medical intervention will not be effective in curing or reducing the pain and disability.   But as human beings, with all the Human Rights, we have no say about when and how we choose to die and that we should just suffer and keep fighting.  Sometimes it’s braver to let go and be at peace with your life and to say that you have had enough.  I will only know when I get there.  Lisa also mentioned that perhaps assisted-dying can be understood and regulated under the law without having such dire consequences.


Theo made a very valid point:  “What is worse… Letting that person suffer or offer to end their suffering so they can have peace?”. She continues saying that as health care professionals, many believe that we should promote and value human life…  Cecil also touched on this but took it further by saying that our ability to make our own choices and take responsibility for our decisions is part of the human gift of autonomy and we should exercise this right in life, and death.


I still believe, “my life, my choice” and everyone deserves a dignified death.



For PHT402 Professional Ethics Course: Week 5 – Reflection


Week 2: Reflection


After reading the various blog posts and comments from my fellow course participants, I felt the need to reflect and acknowledge the opinions expressed regarding this complex moral landscape and what influences it. I wanted to write and post my reflection earlier, but as it’s the month end, I’ve been a little preoccupied this week with patient accounts and administration of my practice.  So, albeit a little later than planned for this week, I would like to end the week’s topic of morality off by reflecting on and summarising my thoughts, before moving onto the next chapter, equality.

moral brain

During my research on this topic/theme, I found a very interesting link… Harvard University’s Cognitive Evolution Laboratory has an online Moral Sense Test. This forms part of a research project on “characterisation of the nature of our moral psychology, how it evolved, and how it develops in our species, creating individuals with moral responsibilities”. Reading the ethical and moral dilemmas given in this test/survey, made me realise even more how complex human behaviour, human connection and human cognition is…. Is there a “universal moral behaviour or code”?  Most of the questions dealt with sacrificing someone else’s comfort, health, freedom or life to save others, change a scenario or have a supposed-positive effect on the outcome.  It is also very interesting that in this test they ask you random questions about your personality, general opinions and likes/dislikes… all to profile your moral character.  Wendy and Charde also discussed the various contexts and experiences that influence our individual moral development.

To be a little philosophical, as a spiritual human being and a moral relativist, I argue against a single true morality…I believe to never do any harm or treat others unkindly.  I don’t believe that it is possible to have a universal moral code in this complex world we live in.  I believe in natural rights and moral relativism, as briefly discussed in my “Original blog post on Morality (Week 2)“. Natural rights are rights people have simply by virtue of being a human being, for example the right not to be harmed by others, and vice versa. I found an academic published paper on moral relativism by Gilbert Harman that really explains this theory well, including the typical criticisms from other cultural/religious moralists.  “The moral relativist supposes that different people accept different moralities which can give them different moral reasons.”  Religious dogmatism, personal experiences, freedom of choice/expression and cultural beliefs influence one’s moral character, exception and perception, as so eloquently described and referenced by Noam and Jackie.  I also found the article linked to Tony’s blog post, “Moral Courage in Health Care” such and inspiring and relevant read.  

I really appreciated the personal experiences shared by many physiotherapists and physiotherapy-students in their blog posts, referring to challenging clinical dilemmas with various ethical and moral questions.  Being compassionate and empathetic with a patient that is the cause of all her pain and disability, as Theo shared in his post, is difficult, but you must remember your place in this clinical setting.  Possibly in another setting, you might choose to act or interact differently with this person, again, then it all depends on your moral character and personality.  Ellen’s mind map summarised, in such a comprehensive and concise manner, what morality can be defined as, what influences it  (multi-factorial) and what impact it has on our lives and decision-making process.   To borrow from Carmin’s post, the quote by Laurence Sterne really sums it up:

“Respect for ourselves guides our morals; respect for others guides our manners”

Laurence Sterne


For PHT402 Online Professional Ethics Couse:  Week 2 (Morality)