Ella Butcherine is a final year Doctor of Medicine student at the University of Melbourne, studying the ethics of conscientious objection in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU). More specifically, she is interested in whether it may be permissible for individual doctors in the NICU to object to treatment, on the grounds of best interests and/or distributive justice.
Under the tutelage of Professors Julian Savulescu and Dominic Wilkinson, she hopes to develop answers to questions of resource allocation in the public hospital system, with a view to reconciling dissenting opinions. This encompasses questions such as, whether there is a threshold of expected benefit too small to justify treatment, and if so, where might it lie? What is the difference between reasonable and unreasonable disagreement, and how should each be addressed? What might be the implications of allowing conscientious objection on secular grounds?
When she’s not reading ethics papers, Ella can be found wandering through the countryside, sneaking sugar cubes to the Port Meadow ponies, or engrossed in the novel she’s picked out this week.