2018, Rhetoric + Argumentation

Trapped in Limb-o: Health, Pain, and Body Integrity Identity Disorder

RACHEL BIGGIO

In this paper, I examine the ethical dilemma present in cases of Body Integrity Identity Disorder (BIID), a condition in which sufferers do not identify with one of their limbs and subsequently seek amputation. Many medical professionals and lay people alike feel there exists a moral requirement to refuse treatment in instances of BIID, as the curative procedure requires the removal of a “healthy” limb. I, however, resist the supposition of healthfulness of the undesirable limb in instances of BIID and indeed assert that an identity conflict poses a genuine medical condition with the undesirable limb as the source of ailment. Thus, I insist that amputation in the case of BIID is permissible, and further, that the medical establishment must fundamentally reexamine its conceptions of pain, illness, and health to honor a wider range of human experience.

1st Place – Rhetoric + Argumentation

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