Voice surgery sparks ethical debate

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Lesson Title

Voice surgery sparks ethical debate

E-Newscast Video Link


Video Length

Three minutes and eleven seconds

Grade Level

High School & Above


A recent surgery performed on a fourteen-year-old boy with autism has sparked an ethics debate. Up until this surgery in 2011, the boy would scream more than one thousand times a day, at a volume above 90 decibels. At his parents’ request, the boy underwent the surgery that made his screams quieter. Disability activists argue that the surgery was unethical because it was done for the benefit of the parents.  Contrarily, medical authorities assert that the surgery was beneficial to the boy, and is also reversible—so it is not a permanent change.

Review Questions

How did the boy’s constant screams affect the family?

How could this surgery potentially put the boy in danger, according to disability activists?

How is this surgery beneficial to the boy, according to medical authorities?

Free writing “Journal” Prompt

Do you think the surgery was done for the benefit of the child, or the benefit of the parents? Could it have been done to benefit both?

Which side of the ethical debate do you agree with most? Why?

What about this report do you have questions about, or want to know more about?