Bioethics Blogs

Weighty Choices: Ethical Challenges of Addressing Eating Disorders

STUDENT VOICES | CHYNN PRIZE FIRST-PLACE WINNER 

By: Geena Roth

In certain situations, the moral or ethical decision is obvious, but more often than not, there are a number of complicating factors.  Almost all decisions we make will affect more than just ourselves, forcing us to weigh our own morality against another’s autonomy.  This is particularly true in the case of medical interventions for the sake of another’s health.

Anyone who has been a part of a long-distance friendship knows that there are very few things more exciting than the prospect of getting to see your friend in person for the first time since parting.  That excitement is somewhat marred, however, when your friend has so drastically changed that you literally do not recognize them.  The summer between my sophomore and junior years of high school, my family moved cross-country from Texas to Indiana, forcing me to leave my best friend behind.  We of course kept in touch via text and phone calls, but between the time change and our equally busy schedules, we rarely if ever had the chance to video chat.  Combine that with the fact that she is largely an abstainer from social media, and the result was that I hadn’t seen a picture of my friend in a year, at which point I was flying back to Texas to visit her and our other friends.  When my plane landed, I grabbed my things and rushed down the escalator to baggage claim, not realizing that I had looked my friend in the face and kept on walking because I did not recognize her.  She was about two-thirds the weight she had been when I left.  We had discussed how she had started working out and had gone on a diet, but nonetheless, the extent of her weight loss scared me.  Over the course of the trip, however, she seemed healthy and in better shape than she had ever been before, alleviating some of my fears.

The views, opinions and positions expressed by these authors and blogs are theirs and do not necessarily represent that of the Bioethics Research Library and Kennedy Institute of Ethics or Georgetown University.