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Lecture 13

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Stuart Kamenetsky

Lecture 13: Controversial Issues (Marks) 2013 Deborah Marks  Perspective: disability studies programs o interdisciplinary (include psychology, sociology, law, anthropology, philosophy)  Psychoanalytic psychological perspective (Freudian) – challenges popular culture Moral Superiority of our Times: “case in point: FREAK SHOWS” Moral Superiority greater today than in the past  Confident that we do things better than ever before o “Toronto is one of the best places to live in the world” – rated by that by magazines o Real estate prices soaring b.c. high influx Why is it the best place? o Safe – people get along w. one another, low racism (one of lowest), sexism, disabledism o Legislations that guarantee rights – ADA, charter, CDA, etc.  Enables us to think we’re the best we can be – not the case o ppl w. disabilities – although live in tolerant society, a lot more can be done  High unemployment rates >90% for dev’t delays  Excluded from society after 21 yrs old (out of school system) o Marks: we do not have “citizenship rights/personhood” > every individual is a full member of society and has equal access to what society has to offer Case in point: don’t allow “freak shows”  Freak shows don’t fit norms – unusual > visible & provocative (grotesque usually) o significant physical deformity (face, dwarfs, giants) o Used to exist in circuses – ppl paid to see them  Have eliminated freak shows – inappropriate, inhumane, unfair to take advantage of someone’s “misery” + pay to see that > ethically wrong & b/c more morally superior now don’t allow it Mark’s Comment: we are not more morally superior  At least they were employed o even if were selling an aspect of themselves that has some commercial market value o as adults: expected to work & contribute to society >> instead we replaced their employment w. disability pension – lives for free, decreases self esteem, shuns them from society & being like everyone else + integrated  Have to think about the morality of restricting ppl of doing something that will make them feel good about themselves because they will be employed like everyone else Question : have freakshows been discontinued? NO – but ppl that participate not w. disabilities  Other freak shows that aren’t disabled seen on TV shows o hoarders, little ppl big world > no “freakish” physical properties (hunched backs) o Women that go through breast augmentations to dance for men – isn’t that freak show?  Still pay for freak shows & freak shows make a lot of money, but ppl w. disabilities are not allowed to participate in this … so is what we’re doing today better than the past? Lecture 13: Controversial Issues (Marks) 2013 Value of Life: “case in point: Mercy Killing” Human Rights – value of life  Human rights legislations don’t protect all minorities in the same way as they protect majorities  Some lives are more worthy than others o President of US is sick = gets best health care anywhere in the world; Poor Africa living in sub- Saharan African, if dies no one will know/care o In Canada we may be better, but if a wealthy family is sick they will pay for private health care in US instead of being put on a waitlist to get to Canada & if they have doctors in the family find a way to get better treatment Robert Latimer: mercy killing  father who murdered his daughter (Tracy) o Tracy: oxygen deprivation during birth = cerebral palsy o Murdered when she was 11 or 12 with carbon monoxide (attached to tube from truck)  His justification: she suffered o couldn’t date, went to school but was on seizure medication, the pain medication was limited, had many surgeries & was due for more surgeries  Legal system: Supreme Court of Canada 2x debating mercy killing o Convicted w. Murder 2 (although premeditated) o Served LITTLE time (would have been 1 year if he expressed remorse, but he didn’t) o Was due to serve more, but gradually decreased to 10 years on parole o Low security prison – running his farm still & got 2 university degrees  UNJUST system: murdering disabled v. non-disabled o Premeditated murder of non-disabled person: at least 25 yrs w. no parole o It was mercy killing – understand circumstances – CND survey: ¾ agreed w. decision KEY PROBLEM: he made that decision himself & courts gave him the right to do it o no legislation: “in such cases have to refer decision to a panel (drs., biochemisits, religious figures, community members) that debates the case & decides whether such a killing is warranted & if it is, it is done humanely in a hospital around family” o THEREFORE: reduced sentence = the right to decide the value of his daughter’s life o But who is he to decide that? Evidence Tracy was happy (smiled, liked by peers, school) Mark’s Comment:  Disability (& human rights) groups: no one can determine the value of another person’s life  BUT the legal system is not subscribing to this – mercy killing is “understood” if remorse showed  Utilitarian argument: “quality of ppl’s lives is low if they won’t have utility (contributing to society)”, therefore disabled ppl must have lower qualities of life – reflected in human rights o Social Class & Financial Resources, Mercy Killing Argument that justifies lives of disabled are less worthy: 1. People can’t image how they would cope if they had severe impairment 2. Impairment is culturally constituted as tragic (tragedy for child & family) 3. Therefore: desire to continue living/raise such a child undergoing tragic circumstances is seen as incomprehensible {therefore tragedy = moral right to take a life} = easy to understand Robert felt Tracy’s life wasn’t valuable – b/c if we were Tracy we wouldn’t want to live like that > BUT! we aren’t her – making assumptions that disabled have tragic lives  Can’t make judgements based on assumptions; Pt3. MORAL RIGHT to take someone’s life Lecture 13: Controversial Issues (Marks) 2013 Medicine: presents itself as value free but it is not  Medical professions: up on hierarchy of professions (responsible & prestigious to be a dr.) o See medicine as extension of science – use scientific principles to better lives o “Medical Model”: sick w. pathogen treated w. medication to rid of pathogen  MARKS : when it comes to medicine, it is not value free – values imposed on disabilities Scientific Eradication of Disabilit(eugenics, amniocentesis) – Technology available, but not possible go Eradicate o Always have acquired disabilities  aging process (neurological disorders – huntington’s, alzheimer’s)  Cancers = disabilities, brain injuries b/c of strokes, aneurysms, brain tumours  Unpreventable accidents o The fact that technology is available – producing a society that looks down on disability  MARKS: snc is promoting the notion that their lives are not worth living > if medicine is prestine & trying to get rid of disability, the message is NOT VALUE free – puts value of a disabled life Objectifying gaze  Patients: passive, undergo emotional damage, less motivated o Mind & body are closely related – prognosis (healing) is lower  Examples: Drs. treat patients like they are damaged & need repair (little “how are u”) Plays God  NOT value free – decide who will live {whose life is of value} Beginning of Life: Premature Children o more premature = more disability risk (AUTISM, PDD, ADD) + health problems + complications (visual & hearing impairments) o use technology to replace & go against nature – if no technology, the child may die BUT we use technology to enable child to survive  BUT later: child has a lot of disabilities to live with and will be thrown out of the system & put on disability pensions @ 21 End of Life: Who gets Treatment? What type of treatment? o Treating cancer @30 diff. than treating it @40  “statistically wont life longer, so why extend resources on you?”  Private health care is worse >> decisions made by ppl who run hospitals o Preserving life? Stroke @ 75-80 yrs/Comas  Kept alive by being connected to a machine/breathing tube  IS THIS RIGHT? What would the person want? The Right of individual to not be seen like that? o EG. Rodriguez – wanted to end life (disability & illness) & asked drs. to do it >> legal reasons can use technologies for certain reasons, not for others >> not value free Eugenics (Sterilization)/Amniocentesis  Sterilization won’t prevent disabilities (even if genetic) o EG. hearing impairments: 200 diff. types of impairments – 1/6 ppl have the gene for deafness & only 1 combo = hearing impaireth(10% of deaf kids = deaf parents) o So what will you do? Kill every 6 person – how about other genes? No one will be left  Eugenics has been misinformed – used to sterilize ‘undesirable” not only “know for sure” o Even if you sterilize, you can’t eradicate! >> the same problem w. amniocentesis  tell parents if child has congenital disability & aborting is up to parents  DRS.: “we provide technology, it’s parents decisions & their values” – o BUT once provide technology –how it will be used who knows (eg. deciding on sex)  Big ethical concern w. all of this – especially that at the end of the day medicine is not value free Medicine as a GATEKEEPER of Public Funds/Values  Gatekeeper of public funds & values – “eg medical notes exemptions for academics”  Entrusted medical professionals to make decisions in society Lecture 13: Controversial Issues (Marks) 2013 o go to a doctor for a cure, notes to excuse you from responsibilities others aren’t, or access to resources (disabled – disability pension, get it only if licensed physician is certified to say you are disabled enough to access resources) o eg. Ritalin (bought outside NA) >> determined by culture, society, law not just by the DRs & their values  MARKS blames DRs; BUT in response to how society has developed & become competitive that ppl will resort to anything to get ahead >> DRs have been entrusted to make that happen VALUE in “SICK ROLES” o “final determination DRs make – “the sick role” (role when you’re sick) o DRS decide: do you/not qualify for the EXAMPLE: o Mentally ill stole snow plow, killed police office – does he quality for SICK ROLE that day? 8 psychiatrists involved to try to make determination – if yes, then person cannot be held criminally responsible for actions b/c mentally ill o If DR. decided that you’re sick = evidence whether person is responsible for behaviour  NOT VALUE FREE b/c DRs assume roles as gatekeepers IMPAIRMENT v. DISABILITY  Impairment: pathogen (internal aspect of body)  neurological damage, broken bones, amputated limbs, etc. – that causes the body to not work as well as it should (or normally does in normal people)  Disability: experience of impairment (eg. not being able to get to work, not walking) THE MEDICAL MODEL:  Disability is a DIRECT consequence of disability (eg. broken legs = cannot work) THE SOCIAL MODEL:  Impairment may or may not lead to disability, depending on the society (eg. ramps?) ** Important to consider both models & not side w. one or another ** Lecture 13: Controversial Issues (Marks) 2013 SOCIAL CONSTRUCTION of Disability: Location of disability?External (has to do w. society; not inward pathogen leading to disability) Impairment must lead to disability? No, it depends on soc
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