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In this situation, I am being asked to mediate a disagreement between members of the family on whether my grandfather should agree to a procedure that will correct his disease. However, the procedure has a 10% mortality rate, but if he doesn’t agree to it, it will kill him at some point in the next five years. In this situation, I will need to hear everyone’s side of the argument. We will need to resolve the disagreement by clarifying misinformation and by asking productive questions. I will start by asking my mother to explain her side of the argument so I can understand what she’s worried about. Then, I will ask my grandfather to explain why he wants to commit to the procedure. Even though his answer may seem obvious, it isn’t fair to assume; furthermore, communicating openly will facilitate understanding and openness to new perspectives.

After everyone has a chance to speak, I will need to steelman each side of the argument. For my mother, she might say that the uncertainty involved in the small chance that the procedure will kill my grandfather is what concerns her. For my grandfather, he might mention that his priority is wanting to prolong his life and recover from the disease. I think the best hypothetical solution to this disagreement is to make sure everyone understands the consequences of either decision in simple terms. I would explain that if my grandfather does the procedure, he is acknowledging the possibility that the procedure might kill him, even though the chances are quite low. I would also make sure my mother understands that if my grandfather refuses the procedure, he will die inevitably from the disease at any point in the next 10 years, which still involves a degree of perhaps unsettling uncertainty.

Finally, I will emphasize that no matter what, the choice is ultimately my grandfather’s. As long as he understands the risks, he can give reasonable consent, and his final decision is informed, then he has the legal and moral right to the decision-making responsibility for his own treatment. In summary, I start by asking everyone to state their opinion clearly, then I would steelman both sides of the argument; next, I would make sure the consequences of each option are understood by everyone. Finally, I would emphasize the importance of allowing my grandfather to make the final decision. (387 words)

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