Physician Assisted Suicide Case Study

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Ethical Issue We face decisions every day. Some are easy choices to make and some are more difficult to make. “Ethical dilemma is a situation in which an individual is compelled to make a choice between two actions that will affect the well-being of a sentient being and both actions can be reasonably justified as being good, neither action is readily justifiable as good, or the goodness of the action is uncertain. One action must be chosen, thereby generating a quandary for the person or group who must make the choice”. (Masters, 2014, p. 117) A patient who is suffering from a terminal disease may view death as his or her only cure. A permanent escape from all the pain and agony that the illness have caused them. “The ethical dilemma for nurses…show more content…
Physician-assisted suicide is legal in only five states. It is an option given to individuals by state law in Oregon, Vermont, Washington and California and an option given to individuals in Montana via court decision. “The American Nurse Association (ANA) Code of Ethics for Nurses states that the nurse provide interventions to relieve pain and suffering from the dying patient, even if it may hasten death. It also states that nurses may not act with the sole intent of ending a patient’s life even though such action may be motivated by compassion, respect for patient autonomy and quality of life consideration”. (Lachman, 2010, p. 122) The Code of Ethics for Nurses provides some guidance for nurses who are confronted with end-of-life issues and requests for assisted…show more content…
The refusal to assist in the suicide may be seen as a violation in a client’s autonomy. The participation in the suicide violates the nursing code of ethics. “Beneficence is an ethical principle that promotes good and prevent harm”. (DeLaune, 2010, p. 203) We as nurses want to see only the positive outcomes in the treatment plan for our patients. Death is never in our plans. Physician-assisted suicide does not prevent harm. In fact, death is the outcome. Some may view this as an act of righteousness. “Justice is based on the concept of fairness”. (DeLaune and Ladner, 2010, p. 203) Being fair is giving our patients what they want. We work very hard to satisfy our patients’ needs and promote the best care possible. This changes when the patient wants death to occur for themselves. Is it fair to allow a person to live with continuous pain and knowing that eventually death will come? “Fidelity is faithfulness and keeping promises”. (DeLaune and Ladner, 2010, p. 203) Patients expect the nurses to act in their best interest. When a patients seek assistance in their suicide they expect the nurse to advocate for them and help them succeed in their

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