Running head: ANALYSIS OF AN ETHICAL DILEMMA
Analysis of an Ethical Dilemma
December 11, 2011
Analysis of an Ethical Dilemma
Euthanasia, sometimes referred to as mercy killing, is an act by a third party that causes a patient’s death. Such acts include administering a lethal dose of medication by way of injection or mask, usually to a seriously ill patient. This analysis will discuss the ethics of euthanasia as it relates to nursing, laws, society, and the stakeholders involved in the scenario.
The American Nurses Association (ANA) believes that the nurse should not participate in
Active euthanasia because such an act is in direct violation of the Code for Nurses ...view middle of the document...
As nurses, we believe that “Life always has a value, despite its quality or lack thereof, because life and the dignity and respect for the individual originate from the fact of just being human (Thomasma & Graber, 2011). Life is precious and therefore everyone should be treated with due respect and honor. This will in turn assist in “dying with dignity”.
Euthanasia is illegal in all states of the United States. Assisted euthanasia is legal in three of the United States, which are Oregon, Washington and Montana. The difference between the two types is based on who administers the medication. In euthanasia a third person is giving the medication to the patient, whereas in assisted euthanasia, the patient self-administers the drug. “Oregon was the first state to pass a Death With Dignity (DWD) Act which it did in 1994 after a Citizen Initiated Referendum. However, this law was not finally implemented until 27 October 1997” (Exit international, 2011). This act permits the terminally ill person to ask permission for a lethal medication from their doctor. The law requires two verbal requests and one written request from the patient with witnesses. Two doctors have to agree with the prognosis and condition of the patient. Then patient can self-administer the prescribed medication. Loss of autonomy and loss of dignity are two end of life concerns made by patients who use this law. They no longer wish to live when life is not enjoyable (Exit international, 2011). Although euthanasia is illegal, some states have laws passed for passive euthanasia which includes withdrawing the life support measures in terminally ill patients. ‘The Texas Futile Care Law’ in 1999 is an example of law permitting passive euthanasia.
The laws and protocols regarding the euthanasia globally are very complex. In many countries physicians assisting the euthanasia are subjected to imprisonment. Most countries do not treat passive voluntary euthanasia (preventing the prolonged suffering of the terminally ill patient) as illegal. “In countries where medical euthanasia legally is permitted (e.g., the Netherlands, Belgium), proponents reject advance directives as a legitimate mechanism for continuing such a request into a period when a patient no longer can speak for himself” (Purtilo & Doherty, 2011, p. 335). The concept of palliative care is new when there is no hope for cure from the disease.
The stakeholders in this scenario are the father of the young patient and the doctor who wants to do the right choice for his patient. They both have the moral rights and both believe that there is no hope for the enjoyable quality of...