Nova Southeastern University Ethical Problems of Death and Dying Euthanasia Paper

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Nova Southeastern University


Professional ethics are at the foundation of nursing practice. Exploring ethical and legal issues that commonly arise in the practice of the health care professional provides student nurses with the knowledge they need to understand their role in providing ethical care to their patients. Ethical dilemmas in healthcare are not unique to nurses; however, the health care landscape is changing at an unprecedented rate creating the potential for new dilemmas in practice. By examining the role of the nurse in collaboration with other health care professionals, students learn the foundations for critically analyzing ethical dilemmas in nursing practice, clarifying values and promoting moral considerations regarding health care challenges.

1. Describe the ethical topic (Euthanasia) AND a potential ethical dilemma as it relates to the ethical topic/issue

a. Identify the stakeholders who are impacted or who may potentially be impacted by this ethical topic/issue.

b. Identify the legal concerns associated with the topic/issue

2. Explore professional and personal values related to the ethical topic/issue.

a. Describe and support a position (values, attitudes, beliefs) on the issue, provide examples supported by current literature b. Provide an alternative position on the issue, provide examples describing the alternative viewpoint with examples supported by current literature

3. Identify and discuss any new knowledge gained related to the topic/issue.

4. The scholarly paper should be 4 pages excluding the title and reference page.

5. Include an introductory paragraph, purpose statement, and a conclusion.

6. Include level 1 and 2 headings to organize the paper.

7. Write the paper in third person, not first person (meaning do not use ‘we’ or ‘I’) and in a scholarly manner. To clarify I, we, you, me, our may not be used. In addition, describing yourself as the researcher or the author should not be used. The exception to this rule is if/when you do the reflective piece as it relates to your position (values) at the end.

8. APA format is required (attention to spelling/grammar, a title page, a reference page, and in-text citations).

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Explanation & Answer



Ethical Dilemma in Death and Dying- Euthanasia
Student’s Name
Institutional Affiliation




1. Euthanasia
The ethical issue that I am analyzing is euthanasia. Euthanasia is described as the
termination of life for a very sick patient with an aim of relieving them from suffering.
Generally, a person who undergoes euthanasia has a chronic and incurable illness. In many
cases, euthanasia is carried out at the request of the patient but there may be instances when they
may be too ill and the medics, relatives, or in some situations, the courts can make the decision
(Brueck & Sulmasy, 2019). The issue of euthanasia has thus been a major topic of debate for
many years as it is surrounded by religious, legal and most importantly ethical considerations.
a. Ethical Dilemma arising from the topic of Euthanasia
Nurses face a number of distressing ethical dilemmas arising from euthanasia. One of the
dilemmas is whether it is just and beneficial to end the life of a terminally ill person who is
experiencing suffering and severe pain? The other dilemma is whether there is an ethical
difference of allowing the patience to avoid treatment to let them die and assisting them to die or
using euthanasia. Nurses further face the ethical dilemma of determining the circumstances
under which it is justifiable to conduct euthanasia, if at all it is made legal.
b. Stakeholder Impacted by the Euthanasia Issue
One of key stakeholders impacted by the issue of euthanasia are the patients who are
living with extremely painful and incurable diseases as they believe that ending the suffering is
more helpful than living in agony. More so, euthanasia will potentially affect those patients who
are mentally ill, as they may end up increasingly requesting for euthanasia. For example, Shibata
(2017) notes that, in Netherlands, within 30 years of euthanasia to terminally ill people, the
practice has extended to even the chronically ill as well as to those with mental illness, including
psychological distress to people who are 70 years and above and who are not ready to continue



living. More so, the family of the patients who would undergo euthanasia may have posttraumatic stress disorder and depression for witnessing their process of euthanasia being carried
out on a loved one. The physicians are as well stakeholders who are directly impacted by the
issue of euthanasia since they are the people who are given the power and responsibility to
euthanize patients. As noted by (Terkamo-Moisio et al (2019), the first person a patients present
their request for euthanasia is the nurse. The nurse then enquires the rationale for needing the
euthanasia by the patient, and thus they actively participate in the euthanasia process.
The government is yet another impacted stakeholder as it is the one with the mandate to
make euthanasia legal or illegal. As such, to make sure that the society is not negatively affected
by euthanasia, it is the obligation of the government to be an active participant of the issue. The
other stakeholder group that is significantly impacted by the legalization of euthanasia is the
pharmaceutical and insurance companies. Due to the fact that when a person is euthanized, their
death is taken to be natural Terkamo-Moisio et al (2019); insurance companies are positively
impacted as they will no longer be required to cater for patient’s medical bills or pay for life
insurance. The pharmaceuticals also benefit as they will sell more drugs to hospitals and clinics.
c. Legal Concerns Associated with Euthanasia
The legal issue surrounding euthanasia is on what is taken to be voluntary-active
euthanasia, in which there is voluntary request by a patient for a third party to actively engage in
the role of terminating his or her life. Therefore, conducting euthanasia without the consent of
the patient is considered to the illegal since it is against the rights of patients (Shibata, 2017).
Failure to obtain consent can lead the doctors to be convicted of second degree murder, when
they take part in euthanasia through actively assisting patient to die as in the renowned case of
Dr. Jack Kevorkian (Shibata, 2017). Thus, in the United States, even though nurses may legally



take part in euthanasia and not be criminally prosecuted; it is illegal for them to coerce patients
to request for euthanasia.
2. Professional and Personal Values Related to Euthanasia
The professional values that relate to the issue of euthanasia include autonomy,
nonmaleficence, beneficence, justice, and integrity. Personal values that relate to euthanasia
include accuracy in caring, commitment, sympathy, human dignity, and competency.
a. A Supporting Position for Euthanasia
One of the values that would support euthanasia is the respect for autonomy. As noted by
Malpas (2016), competent adults should have the autonomy to stop medical treatment that they
feel is no longer benefit to them. For instance, the death of Brittany Maynard in Oregon shows
that people have the right to make the choice to die when their life quality is no longer acceptable
(Malpas, 2016). As such, the respect for autonomy allows people to have the right to determine
when to die and the manner in which they die. More so, as noted by Terkamo-Moisio (2019),
euthanasia allows nurses to facilitate a death with dignity as they help the patients to control their
suffering situation. Additionally, the Euthanasia Society of America (ESA) is one of the social
welfare organizations that support euthanasia through advocating for the respect for autonomy
and the right to die. ESA positioned itself as a public advocate for the relief of pain and suffering
through allowing patient the autonomy to request the stop of unnecessary delay of the process of
dying (Brueck & Sulmasy, 2019). The value of justice as well supports euthanasia as it ensures
that people are not kept alive with incurable and expensive illness. As such, the value of justice
in euthanasia allows for the release of resources to take care of people with curable diseases.


Just the thing I needed, saved me a lot of time.


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