Ethical Decision in Assisted Suicide
Assisted suicide is mostly associated with doctors, whereby; a medical doctor intentionally makes the means available for a patient to kill him or herself. Enormous health challenges make patients contemplate suicide and do request their physicians to assist them make the suicide possible. Doctors can provide the means to death usually through an overdose of prescribed medication; hence, the individual dies because of a drug overdose rather than from natural causes (Battin, 1995). This is commonly referred to as physician-assisted suicide. However, assisted suicide is not an action primarily limited to physicians. Any other individual providing the means to death to a patient is also considered assisting in suicide (Battin, 1995).
The issue concerning assisted suicide is an extensively debated ethical affair. The debate stems from different viewpoints first concerning when the act is considered appropriate and then what the resulting consequences would look like if the act were permissible (Lo, 2005). Ethical decisions in assisted suicide are debated along the lines concerned with the worthy nature of life and on what is entailed in a life that is worth living and consequently, who ultimately decides this. Many religions, however, hold that life is Gods’ gift, which should not be interfered with let alone be destroyed (Lo, 2005).
Nurses, for instance, are often confronted with ethical dilemmas when they interact with patients suffering from life threatening diseases (Snyder, 2002). The demoralizing effects of these diseases are devastating to the nurses, the patients, and the patients’ families. Nurses, therefore, may choose to facilitate a dignified death over preserving life. In such a case, it is essential for nurses to recognize their own feelings of fear, sadness, and discouragement. They should, therefore, understand the influence these feelings can have on their clinical decision making process (Snyder,...
References: Battin, M. P. (1995). Ethical issues in suicide. Englewood Cliffs, N.J: Prentice Hall.
Flight, M. (2011). Law, Liability, & Ethics for Medical Office Professionals (Fifth Edition ed.). Clifton Park, NY: Delmar.
Lo, B. (2005). Resolving ethical dilemmas: A guide for clinicians. Philadelphia, PA: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.
Snyder, L. (2002). Assisted suicide: Finding common ground. Bloomington, IA Univ: Press.
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