Order Description;

Analysis of an Ethical Dilemma

Dilemma : Voluntary/Assisted Euthanasia
Confronting Death: Who Chooses? Who Controls? A Dialogue between Dax Cowart and Robert Burt http://digitalcommons.law.yale.edu/fss_papers/706/

The Terry Schiavo Documentary http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cki55BM42kw

1) The above resources depicts how the quality of life for two individuals has been dramatically affected following traumatic events, as well as the ethical implications, in particular, what response should be given to the patient and family in response to their requests for assisted euthanasia?
Write a formal paper of 750-1,000 words identifying important components of the topic. Include the following:
a) A description of the topic and related ethical implications:
i) Obligations to your profession and work as a nurse.
ii) Laws regarding this topic.
iii) Stake holders in this scenario.
b) A summary of the impact on social values, morals, norms, and nursing practice.
c) An explanation of how an ethical theory and/or ethical principle might be applied to address the chosen topic.
2) Prepare this assignment according to the APA guidelines found in the APA Style Guide, located in the Student Success Center. An abstract is not required.
NOTE: You are required to submit this assignment to Turnitin. Refer to the directions in the Student Success Center. Only Word documents can be submitted to Turnitin.


Euthanasia refers to practice or act of terminating the life of a person through the suspension of the patient’s medical treatment or by lethal injection. Therefore, euthanasia simply means bringing relief to a patient or family by lessening suffering and pain. Euthanasia can be either voluntary or involuntary. In case of voluntary euthanasia, a person makes deliberate and enduring request to be aided to die while in involuntary euthanasia, a person’s life is ended without their approval or knowledge. There are also other forms of euthanasia like assisted suicide, passive euthanasia, and physician assisted suicide.

Voluntary euthanasia has ethical implications whereby professional healthcare employees compromise their roles of saving lives. In many countries, doctors have sworn against this act although they still practice it in different circumstances. Many people, including Christians consider euthanasia morally unacceptable. This makes them view voluntary euthanasia as a form of suicide and euthanasia as a sort of murder. Voluntary euthanasia is considered only if the patient has the mental capacity to make a sound decision and clearly understands the consequences and outcomes of the act. Medical bills are often a burden to the patient and their families. In this case, they consider the economic grounds of voluntary euthanasia to reduce psychological pressures related to the financial burdens (Naudts et al., 2006).

The involvement of nurses in euthanasia raises many questions about their attitudes and opinions towards this act. Most of the nursing professionals are frequently faced with the duty of taking care for terminally ill patients who always request euthanasia. Occasionally, physicians approach them concerning the requests made and the nurses participate in one way or the other in carrying out euthanasia. In some countries like Belgium, euthanasia is legalized although only professionals under carefully defined conditions should only perform the practice. Most of the nurses where euthanasia is legal recommend the practice to their patients in case of serious illnesses that seem uncontrollable. Nurses in many circumstances are not ready to administer lethal drugs to terminate life and would only do so with the consent of the family. Nurses with strong religious beliefs fail to consider euthanasia as an option. They believe in palliative care or sedation to prevent euthanasia in different situations. It is agreed that physicians should be permitted to terminate life of seriously ill patients without the capacity of making decisions due to their conditions. In the dialogue between Dax Cowart and Robert Bur, Dax acknowledges that it is not right to remove a patient’s organs or kill them at any circumstance (Hurst et al., 2014).

Laws have always been enacted to support euthanasia in different countries. In western countries, there has been little success in enacting government policies on euthanasia. Many Non-Governmental Organizations dealing with the medical field have developed policies to support the practice. Euthanasia is legal in limited countries globally. For instance, in Australia, the power of the legislative assembly granted by section six in relation to the establishment of laws fail to permit the making of laws that permit euthanasia (Bartels et al., 2010). Therefore, it is illegal to conduct this practice directly to patients or helping them to end life under any circumstances. The Legislative Assembly owns the power to make laws that advocate the withdrawal of surgical or medical measures in order to prolong life of patients but with no intentions of terminating their lives. There are also laws that require the appointment of an agent by the ailing person to make decisions on his or her behalf regarding the withholding of required treatment. Laws can also be revoked against attempted suicide.

There are many stakeholders in euthanasia. One of the key stakeholders is the injured or terminally ill people. These people should be given the human legal right to chose if they want to die or not. The other people involved are the families of the injured persons. They have the right to chose what happens to their loved ones during euthanasia. If the patient wants to die, they should let them go happily. Doctors and nurses are the other important stakeholders in euthanasia. It is their sole duty to save lives and have different stands regarding the practice. Doctors vary from person to person and some may consider terminating the life of a patient to end the lasting suffering they go through when their conditions are unbearable. The government plays the role of protecting everyone and balancing the rights and responsibilities of every individual in the society. The other stakeholders include various religious groups who consider euthanasia as a wrong and the insurance companies.

Euthanasia has numerous impacts on the society, morals, norms, and the nursing practice. For example, it leads to the loss of family members and finances used during the treatment process. Euthanasia is considered morally wrong mostly by some religions and therefore it is not acceptable. It is morally wrong to commit suicide whether knowingly or unknowingly and by practicing euthanasia, it goes against the norms of the society and the nursing profession. One of the ethical principles in medical practice that should be put in place to avoid euthanasia is establishment of strict laws. The laws should prohibit everyone from performing the practice as it is seen as inhuman. Although euthanasia may be seen as an option to reducing pain to the patient and financial strain to the family, it should be abolished completely

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