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MMI Ethical Questions and Answers

Advice & Insight From Interview Specialists

The following is a list of common ethical questions and answers, provided both as ‘average’ quality and those of a better candidate’s quality.

A member of your family decides to depend solely on alternative medicine for the treatment of his or her significant illness. What action would you take, if any?

Average Candidate Answer

I would tell them that this is a waste of their money, as alternative medicine isn’t proven to work. I would therefore book them in for a doctor’s appointment and make sure that they went.

Excellent Candidate Answer

In such a situation I would first need to consider my role. I’m a family member, so I am close to this person. However, I don’t know if I am, for example, a first year medical student or a specialist doctor – such information is necessary to better understand how I would proceed. Core is to understand the root of their concern regarding contemporary Western Medicine, or their desire to use only alternative Medicine. Whilst decisions on treatment are the patient’s own, assuming they have capacity, I would wish to speak to them in private to better elicit their concerns, and work towards a solution that would allow them to comfortably incorporate evidence based medicine in their treatment.

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Dr Orange recommends homoeopathic medicines to his patients. There is no scientific evidence or widely accepted theory to suggest that homoeopathic medicines work, and Dr Orange doesn’t believe them to. He recommends homoeopathic medicine to people with mild and non-specific symptoms such as fatigue, headaches, and muscle aches because he believes that it will do no harm, but will give them reassurance. Consider the ethical problems that Dr Orange’s behaviour might pose.

Average Candidate Answer

Dr Orange’s actions shouldn’t be condoned as he is not treating his patients properly – so he isn’t following the ethical pillar of beneficence. However, as the concerns are only minor he won’t be harming his patients, so this is not a terrible problem.

Excellent Candidate Answer

The concerns here are many and touch on each aspect of medical ethics. First is the fact that Dr Orange doesn’t believe in the treatment that he is himself providing – showing an alarming lack of honesty and integrity, and likely a focus on profiteering rather than patient care. Next is the fact that his treatments won’t help the patients as they ought to – showing that he is ignoring the principle of beneficence. Additionally, whilst he may believe that the patients have non-concerning problems, they may not seek additional help when they ought to – leading to serious concerns. This could therefore mean that his behaviour constitutes a failure regarding non-maleficence as well. Lastly, his behaviour is problematic with regard to Justice – he ought to provide equal access to Medicine for all, instead of providing unproven treatment to patients and thus preventing them from seeking proper medical care.

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If you have the choice of giving a liver transplant to a successful elderly member of the community and a 20-year-old drug addict, who would you allocate the organ to? And what factors would influence your decision?

Average Candidate Answer

Whilst this is a difficult decision, I would choose to give the organ to the 20 year old as they have many more years of life ahead of them. I would not wish to judge them for their addiction, and would rather wish to help them as far as I could.

Excellent Candidate Answer

This is a difficult choice that must be balanced carefully. On the one hand, I would consider basic mechanical and biological factors like the size of the organ and whether it was a tissue match. Having considered such factors I could then consider further the social and ethical ramifications of my decision. Considering the 20 year old; how serious is their addiction and to what extent does it affect their quality of life? Are they taking, or have they taken, steps to combat it? Does the addiction directly affect the organ in question and will it therefore render the transplant null? Do they, despite their young age, have any dependents? Regarding the older patient – their success should not be seen as a ‘positive’ – rather we are looking at two human beings. However, we should consider their overall health and the number of quality-adjusted life years that they will have remaining to them as a result of the transplant. Just as with the 20 year old, we should consider dependents and the knock-on effects of providing the transplant. Overall, I would need further information before making any decision.  

MMI Ethical Questions and Answers

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