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Author Archive: Matthew Dias

11/05/2015

Can Clinicians Maim Healthy Organs? The Case of Jewel Shuping

by Matthew Dias

This October, reports surfaced that a psychologist deliberately blinded a North Carolina woman named Jewel Shuping, per her request. Thirty-year-old Shuping suffers from Body Integrity Identity Disorder (“BIID”), a psychiatric condition in which individuals experience an overwhelming, lifelong desire to develop a disability—most often by amputating a limb but sometimes by maiming an organ. Even if they are completely healthy, classic BIID sufferers feel that their natural body state is incomplete and that only through amputation or maiming can they achieve their “true identity.” The blinding of Shuping warrants close inspection, since a clinician irreversibly altered a patient’s physiological experience by maiming an essential organ creates a conflict between patient autonomy and clinical ethics.…

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