Dr Tom Kerns
North Seattle Community College


Assignment for Week Four

The assignments this week are similar to last week’s assignments. You will stay in the same small groups and this week you will discuss and submit reports on three different case studies. During the first half of the week your group will discuss two case studies and submit a Group Report on each one, and in the second half of the week you will discuss and submit a report on a third case.

Here are the details:


In Freeman and McDonnell's Tough Decisions read:

  • chapter 14 (pp 149-54) "The Harrisons' Plan"
  • chapter 15 (pp 155-62), "The Smyth Saga"
  • chapter 6 (pp 49-57), "Wanda"
  • In addition this week, please also look through the most recent iteration of the AMA's Principles of Medical Ethics, and the American Nursing Association's (ANA) Code of Ethics for Nurses. Both of these are accessible from the Codes page on our class website. You should be aware of the major provisions in these codes because they may be relevant to the cases you discuss this week. In addition, though no official national "Patients' Bill of Rights" has yet been enacted by the US Congress, a quick search on the web will show you that there has been an awful lot of discussion about it. That may also be relevant to your discussions this week.


Please complete your reading of chapters 14 and 15 by Thursday or Friday. Your assignment is to discuss these two cases on Thursday, Friday and Saturday. Then on Sunday your group will submit a report of its decisions on each of the two cases, along with your reasons for those decisions.

Your reading of chapter six should be completed by Sunday or Monday. You will discuss the case of Wanda on Monday and Tuesday and post your group's report by Tuesday evening. Wednesday will be for discussing the reports.

So again, each of the groups will be discussing the same cases, but whether they will come to the same or different decisions we don't yet know.

And again this week your discussions will take place in your same small groups using your Group folder. After discussing each case thoroughly, you will issue a group report describing what your group's decision is, and then post it into the Whole Class Group folder. Again, decisions about how that group report will be written, who will compose it, what it should say, etc, will be left to your own group. At a minimum, the report should tell us what you (as the decision-making character in the story) have decided to do, and what your reasons are for choosing to do that.

Again, everyone in class will be able to read (if they want to, it's not required) any or all of the other groups' discussions, but please post messages only into your own group, and to the Whole Class Group.

This week is still a little light on the required reading (unlike some coming weeks), so you might take advantage of the time to get your research project approved. Details of the research project assignment can be found here.

Your project needs to get approved by Tuesday Oct 25th at the latest. It could well take several days or a week of back and forth emails between us before your project gets approved, so you'll want to start the process at least a week before that due date. Note the fairly serious grade penalties for late approvals. (The usual standard is that you can expect profs to respond to emails within 24-36 hours; I try to respond sooner than that but am not always able to.)