Dr Tom Kerns
North Seattle Community College


Study Questions
Lisa Belkin
First Do No Harm
(Ballantine, 1993)

In answering these questions, note the questions that have subparts a), b), etc. If the question is phrased in subparts, your answer should come in the same subparts.


Please post your answer to each of these questions in a separate message in the Study Questions folder in the classroom. That should make it easier for people to read and respond to them.

1. On p 70 is a description of the “competency” question.

a) Briefly describe in your own words what “the question of competency” is.
b) What would your own answer to the question be?

2. Select two specific situations described in this book that in your mind presented challenging ethical dilemmas. For each of these two situations a) describe the two sides of the dilemma; b) give an argument supporting each side of the dilemma; c) say which side of the dilemma you would (or should) have voted for; and d) provide the reasons for choosing that side of the dilemma.

Situation I


Situation II


3. Note on p 113 the one paragraph history of the origins of medical ethics.

a) How do you think that history bears on Patrick’s case?
b) How do you think it bears on Armando’s case?


(If for some reason the pages in the edition of Belkin's book you have don't match with the page numbers in these SQs, here are suggestions for how to locate them. For SQ #1, go to "July", then to the subpart "The Committee" about 5 pages in. Lin Weeks is arguing with a committee that an elderly woman has the right to decide whether or not she wants to have her leg amputated. For SQ #3 go to "July,” subpart "Patrick" about 7 pages in; look for the case of Nancy Cruzan.)