As we have seen in the cases of The Rights and Treatment of Patients, Abortion,Organ Transplants, Genetic Technology and now Death and Dying issues. There are many ethical issues involved concerning right and wrong actions.
Unit ObjectivesDemonstrate Knowledge of The Issue of Life and Death and the Pro and Cons of Euthanasia
Suicide – the act or an instance of taking one’s own life voluntarily and intentionally. Euthanasia-Euthanasia (from Greek: εὐθανασία; “good death”: εὖ, eu; “well” or “good” – θάνατος, thanatos; “death”) is the practice of intentionally ending a life to relieve pain and suffering. There are different euthanasialaws in each country.Proponents of euthanasia and physician-assisted suicide (PAS) contend that terminally ill people should have the right to end their suffering with a quick, dignified, and compassionate death. They argue that the right to die is protected by the same constitutional safeguards that guarantee such rights as marriage, procreation, and the refusal or termination of life-saving medical treatment.
Opponents of euthanasia and physician-assisted suicide contend that doctors have a moral responsibility to keep their patients alive as reflected by the Hippocratic Oath. They argue there may be a “slippery slope” from euthanasia to murder, and that legalizing euthanasia will unfairly target the poor and disabled and create incentives for insurance companies to terminate lives in order to save money.
Mercy Death – someone taking a direct action to end a patient’s life because the patient has requested it be doneMercy Killing-someone taking a direct action to terminate a patient’s life without the patient’s permission Brain Death- Over the last hundred years, the criteria for establishing human death has changed with knowledge from breathing on a doctor’s mirror to today’s standard of total brain death.Harvard Medical School Criteria for establishing death
1. Unreceptivity and Unresposiveness to physical stimuli 2. No spontaneous movements or breathing 3. No reflexes 4. A flat electroencephalogram (EEG) Allowing Someone to Die- implies a essential recognition that there is some point in any terminal illness when further curative treatment has no purpose and that a patient in this situation should be allowed a natural death in comfort, peace and dignity.
Ordinary and Extraordinary care are distinguished by some bioethical theories, including the teaching of the Catholic Church. Ordinary care is obligatory, food, hydration, water, medication, surgery but can become extraordinary care under certain situations. Extraordinary care is care whose provision involves a disproportionately great burden on the patient or community, and hence is not morally obligatory.
On the Catholic version of the distinction, the natural provision of life necessities, such as food, air, and water, is an example of ordinary care, although it does not exhaust ordinary care, since easily performed medical procedures (that do not impose an undue burden on patient and community) will also be ordinary care. Many times, what was once considered extraordinary care becomes ordinary with developing medical knowledge (Organ transplants were once considered extraordinary care.
Principle of Hope of Benefit- in the treatment of serious illness there a point when further experimental treatment options become questionable in terms of their value to the patient’s quality of life. How will help or hurt this person?
Hospice Care/Palliative CareHospice care: Care designed to give supportive care to people in the final phase of a terminal illness and focus on comfort and quality of life, rather than cure. The goal is to enable patients to be comfortable and free of pain, so that they live each day as fully as possiblePeople often confuse hospice vs. palliative care. In fact, hospice care includes palliative care within it…. However, for non-terminal patients, palliative care is about managing the symptoms and side-effects of life-limiting and chronic illness.Advanced Directives- legal documents such as Living Will, Proxys (permanent or temporary)etc. which direct care if patient becomes incompetent. Readings: Shannon Chap. 8,9,10,11 O’Rourke Chap. 5 (Advanced Directives) Chap.11(Assisted Suicide) Chap. 21(Death) Chap. 30(Euthanasia) Chap.41( Hospice) Chap.53 (Ordinary and Extraordinary Care) Chap.56 (Palliative Care) Chap. 71 (Suicide) Chap. 78( Life Support)
Pro and Cons of Euthanasia(Click on Reading Below)
View Videos: (Click on Links Below to watch 2 videos)
A Woman’s Assisted Suicide
Arguments Against Euthanasia ( select a video)