Introduction In a issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association, an article titled "It's Over Debbie" describes how an anonymous doctor administers a fatal dose of morphine to a woman dying of ovarian cancer Anonymous, In a issue of the New England Journal of Medicine, ten doctors associated with the nation's leading hospitals and medical schools declare their belief that "it is not immoral for a physician to assist in the rational suicide of a terminally ill person" Wanzer, et. Timothy Quill which discussed his decision to help a patient suffering from leukemia commit suicide Quill,
The word is of Greek origin and literally means "a good death. Click here for more definitions. In recent years there have been numerous cases of "mercy killing" in the news. They usually involve the killing of ill or incapacitated persons by relatives or friends who plead that they can no longer bear to see their loved ones suffer.
Although such killings are a crime, the perpetrators generally are dealt with leniently by our legal system, and the media often portray them as compassionate heroes who took personal risks to save someone else from unbearable suffering.
But euthanasia's biggest threat is even more insidious. There are many documented cases around the country of deaths in hospitals and nursing homes caused by withholding life-sustaining care, including food and water, from vulnerable patients who cannot speak for themselves.
For every case that is brought to public attention, there are many more which take place quietly, with no public notice. While it is illegal to kill someone directly, for example with a gun or knife, in many cases the law has put its stamp of approval on causing death by omitting needed care.
Further, many states have "living will" laws designed to protect those who withhold treatment, and there have been numerous court rulings which have approved of patients being denied care and even starved and dehydrated to death. For example, in June,the New Jersey Supreme Court, in a trio of decisions, approved the starvation death of patients diagnosed as being in the persistent vegetative state" or permanently comatose, even if they had never expressed a desire to have food and water withheld.
Because such deaths occur quietly within the confines of hospitals and nursing homes, often they can be kept from public view. Most euthanasia victims are old or very ill, so their deaths might be attributed to a cause other than the denial of care that really killed them.
Further, it is often relatives of the patient who are requesting that care be withheld. In one of the New Jersey cases mentioned above, the court held that decisions to withhold life-sustaining care may be made not only by close family members but also by a number of third parties, and that such decisions need not be reviewed by the judicial system if there is no disagreement between decision makers and medical staff.
The court went so far as to rule that a nursing home may not refuse to participate in the fatal withdrawal of food and water from an incompetent patient!
But to deny customary and reasonable care or to deliberately starve or dehydrate someone because he or she is very old or very ill should not be permitted. Most of the cases coming before the courts do not involve withholding heroic measures from imminently dying people, but rather they seek approval for denying basic care, such as administration of food and water, to people who are not elderly or terminally ill, but who are permanently incapacitated.
WHAT IS EUTHANASIA? The word is of Greek origin and literally means "a good death." The American Heritage Dictionary defines it as "the act of killing a person painlessly for reasons of mercy.". Euthanasia is illegal in the United States at this time. However, physician assisted suicide is currently legal in four states. These states include Oregon, Washington, Montana, and . This article gives an overview of the nursing ethics arguments on euthanasia in general, and on nurses' involvement in euthanasia in particular, through an argument-based literature review. An in-depth study of these arguments in this literature will enable nurses to engage in the euthanasia debate.
These people could be expected to live indefinitely, though in an impaired if they were given food and water and minimal treatment. No one has the right to judge that another's life is not worth living.
The basic right to life should not be abridged because someone decides that someone else's quality of life" is too low.
Once we base the right to life on "quality of life" standards, there is no logical place to draw the line.Cases from history (An appeal by the Scottish Voluntary Euthanasia Society) In March Anthony Bland had lain in persistent vegetative state for three years before a Court Order allowed his degradation and indignity to come to a merciful close.
The judges said that if he had made a living will expressing his future wishes he could have been allowed to die in peace earlier.
ANA Position statement on the topics of Euthanasia, Assisted Suicide, and Aid in Dying. The purpose of this position statement is to provide information that will describe the nurse’s ethical obligations in responding to requests for euthanasia and assisted suicide, define these terms, support the application of palliative care nursing guidelines in clinical practice, and identify.
The nursing profession's opposition to nurse participation in euthanasia does not negate the obligation of the nurse to provide compassionate, ethically justified end-of-life care which includes the promotion of comfort and the alleviation of suffering, adequate pain control.
Euthanasia is a term that originated from the Greek language: eu meaning "good" and thanatos meaning "death".
Generally, euthanasia implies the intentional termination of life that is initiated by a person who wishes to commit suicide.4/4(1). Euthanasia and assisted suicide are serious ethical issues within the medical community.
These particular issues have been debated for a very long time in the United States. According to ProConorg assisted suicide became illegal in and bills to legalize euthanasia were overruled in Ohio in (proconorg, ). How we die reveals much about how we live. In this provocative book, Shai Lavi traces the history of euthanasia in the United States to show how changing attitudes toward death reflect new and troubling ways of experiencing pain, hope, and freedom.