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Assignment: Medical Opinion in Court

Assignment: Medical Opinion in Court

Assignment: Medical Opinion in Court

NOW FOR AN ORIGINAL PAPER ASSIGNMENT: Assignment: Medical Opinion in Court

A. Research and define the following terms as they relate to the legal and medical ethics presented in the story My Sister’s Keeper. These are the central issues needed to base a medical opinion about any case in court. (12 points)

Medical Ethics:

  • Autonomy
  • Veracity
  • Fidelity
  • Beneficence
  • Non-maleficence
  • Justice

B. Using these as 6 criterion, describe how each of these characteristics related back to the legal arguments and behaviors exhibited by the prosecuting and defense attorneys in this case. (12 points)

C. Then, in two to three paragraphs, describe the moral, practical, and emotional complication of putting one child in unnecessary pain and danger for the well-being of another? (6 points)

When medical professionals write reports, the intended audiences are other medical professionals. From a medical professional’s perspective such reports are the appropriate way to communicate in writing about a patient since medical professionals belong to a professional discourse community.1 Such reports constitute a specialised genre2 with its own rules.

Genres exist at the intersection of two sets of factors. The socio-cultural factors include the cultural location, the prototypical producers and receivers and purpose, of the genre.

The second set of factors is the textual properties of the genre. Genres always have a more or less fixed set of conventions relating to their form, their language. Such formal properties, if they are recurrent and characteristic, are the text type features of the genre. Any linguistic property, such as the intonation of a racing commentary, may be characteristic of a genre but there are also non-linguistic type features such as the formatting requirements of formal business letters. It may be the presence or absence of such a property, but it can also be its probability of occurrence, which is significant in identifying a feature of form as characteristic of the genre. Once established, many aspects of the genre, both as a social mode of action and as a text type, come to be conventional.3

Medical reports as one specialised genre can be employed as expert evidence and then are quoted in part in judgments of the Court. Judgments of the Court are a different genre. Judges, who are responsible for the production of judgments of the Court, make judgments in favour either of the appellant or the respondent on the basis of the weight they assign to the medical evidence with which they are presented. They may also comment on the quality of the original reports containing that evidence. Thus a close reading of legal judgments can provide guidance to the writers of medical reports.