Our Nursing Papers Samples/Examples

Down Syndrome Ethical Considerations

Ethical Considerations on Down Syndrome

The term genetic disease refers to any disease that is caused by an abnormality in a person's DNA. Inheritance disorders include chromosomal anomalies, single-gene disorders, multifactorial genetic inheritance diseases, and mitochondrial genetic heredity disorders. When there is a difficulty with cell division, chromosome abnormalities such as duplications or deletions of complete chromosomes or portions of chromosomes result in the condition known as Down syndrome.

Down syndrome is associated with increased risks of some health problems which need intense care and to enable treatment of the patient. For this to happen, the geneticist should disclose to the patient or mother if the patient is a child. Routine screening can help ensure that any Down syndrome-related complications, such as reconstructive surgery to treat a congenital defect or eyeglasses and hearing aids, not just to enhance vision or having to hear, but also to maximize their learning and understanding abilities are taken care of as soon as they occur.

Down Syndrome diagnosis messaging has major ethical issues because it might be either eugenic or curative. There are guidelines for how to communicate a diagnosis. The parents' individual experiences as to how they receive greatly differs (Aldecoa, 2019). There are those who receive positively but a vast majority are overwhelmed and as such a lot of counselling has to be done before the information is disseminated to them. The parent may wish that her Down syndrome child is not resuscitated in the hospital even if the doctor knows that it is possible. The doctor will examine the ethical challenges raised by the parent’s concerns regarding treatment as well as her reluctance to consider the treatment of an atrioventricular canal abnormality (Edwin et al, 2015). This raises a question as to whether treatment of defects in Down syndrome children is a moral obligation in light of the fact that these children are capable of pursuing their life goals.

There is no doctor or nurse who can make a patient do anything against the patient’s will. If there are any disagreements between patients and their healthcare providers over what suggestions are in their best interests, autonomy of the patient will be put on a weighing scale against beneficence. That is what the patients wants versus what the doctor thinks is in their best interest (Cohen, 2019). Various societies have varied ways of resolving such conflicts between a patient's interests and his or her welfare in such a way as to achieve balance.


The term advocacy refers to the process of actively promoting a viewpoint or principle through the execution of specific acts. It is a fundamental premise of advocacy to ensure that no patient is overlooked in the process of health care provision (Ostermaier, 2019). Respect and listening to patients are essential to healthcare advocacy, as well as their participation in the decision-making process that affects their health. The advocacy requires that that patient exercises his autonomy in making decisions and his decisions should be respected.

Because of this ethical system from the Precepts of Moral Practice of Public Health, the doctor should base his treatment choice on the idea of ensuring that all health promotion programs and policies consider the many different cultural norms and values of patients while at the same time safeguarding any information that could be harmful to an individual or group if it were made public (Dawson, 2021). In so doing the doctor should consider what the patient values most and the confidentiality of the information about diagnosis of down syndrome.


Aldecoa, T. V. (2019). Ethics in the communication of down syndrome diagnosis. Cuadernos de bioetica: revista oficial de la Asociacion Espanola de Bioetica y Etica Medica30(100), 315-329.

Cohen, S. (2019). The logic of the interaction between beneficence and respect for autonomy. Medicine, health care and philosophy22(2), 297-304.

Dawson, A. (2021). Ethical practice in public health: developing the workforce for the future. Journal of Public Health43(3), e495-e496.

Edwin, A. K., Edwin, F., & McGee, S. J. (2015). Ethical Dilemmas Relating to the Management of a Newborn with Down Syndrome and Severe Congenital Heart Disease in a Resource-Poor Setting. Narrative inquiry in bioethics5(3), 277-286.

Ostermaier, K. K. (2019). Patient education: Down syndrome (Beyond the Basics).