Example of a normative article
Gill, Michael B, and Robert M Sade. 2002. “Paying for kidneys: The case against prohibition.” Kennedy Institute of Ethics Journal 12 (1):17-45.
Thesis: The current prohibitions against selling kidneys should be overturned.
Arguments for thesis:
Kidney transplants themselves are not immoral and should be legal; in fact, we praise and encourage donation.
In other cases, there is widespread recognition that selling body tissues is not morally objectionable and so should be legal. For example, selling plasma is legal and not frowned on.
These arguments suggest that kidney sales are relevantly similar to other kinds of treatments we usually think are morally acceptable (kidney donation and the sale of human tissue). If it is morally acceptable both to transplant kidneys and to sell human tissue then it seems likely it should be legal for a person to sell one of his or her kidneys, since these are the two major aspects to such a sale.
Relevance to my paper:
In our group’s case, the physician has to make a decision about whether to agree to provide follow-up care to an American patient who plans to travel to India, where he will buy a kidney for transplantation, which he thinks may save his life. Gill and Sade’s arguments suggest that kidney sales are not morally different from other kinds of procedures most people think are morally acceptable. This suggests that kidney sales are not wrong, and the physician should agree to help his patient with follow-up care.
Example of an empirical article:
Tamburrino, Federica, Dino Gibertoni, Cesare Rossi, Emanuela Scarano, Annamaria Perri, Francesca Montanari, Maria Pia Fantini, et al. “Response to Long-Term Growth Hormone Therapy in Patients Affected by RASopathies and Growth Hormone Deficiency: Patterns of Growth, Puberty and Final Height Data.” 2015. American Journal of Medical Genetics Part A 167, no. 11: 2786-94.
Conclusions: The study demonstrates that administration of growth hormone in some patients with RASopathies can positively impact final height, although it will not necessarily help these patients reach average height, since growth hormone deficiency is not the sole factor responsible for short stature in individuals with RASopathies. Further research is needed to determine other causes of short stature in individuals with RASopathies, and to determine the general safety and efficacy of these treatments.
Evidence/Results: In this study, researchers observed that long term growth hormone therapy (starting prior to puberty) in patients with RASopathies resulted in measurable height increases relative to untreated patients, and final heights within normal height distributions. The treatments did not result in final height levels equivalent to that of participants’ parents or compared to the overall population, however.
Relevance to my Case: Although this study shows that patients with RASopathies benefit from growth hormone therapy, it also shows that these treatments do not necessarily help patients reach average height. While growth hormone might provide a small height increase for Billy, it is unlikely to make him competitive at basketball, because it will probably not enable him to achieve even average height. Moreover, this study only measured cases of pre-pubertal administration of growth hormone. Because Billy is already in high school, it is likely that growth hormone will have even less of an impact on his growth than it did on those patients in the study.