Hearing The Deaf: Cochlear Implants, The Deaf Community, and Bioethical Analysis
Alicia R. Ouellette
Albany Law School
April 13, 2011
Valparaiso University Law Review, Vol. 45, 2011
Albany Law School Research Paper No. 2, 2011-2012
In 2002, a Michigan woman faced charges of medical neglect because she refused to consent to cochlear implantation for her deaf sons. The testimony at the resulting trial revealed starkly contrasting views on the value of cochlear implants for deaf children among experts in audiology, bioethics, deafness, and child development. Using the Michigan case as a backdrop, this paper contrasts the perspectives of deaf scholars with that of various bioethicists to explain the differing perspectives. It then argues that bioethical arguments concerning cochlear implantation -- especially arguments for the mandatory use of cochlear implants for all eligible deaf children -- fail to account adequately for evidence generated by deaf and disability scholars that the affirmative use of cochlear implants in prelingually deaf children is just as ethically fraught as a decision against their use.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 25Accepted Paper Series
Date posted: April 14, 2011 ; Last revised: May 31, 2011
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