Carin van Zyl has heard terminally ill patients beg to die.
End of life, euthanasia and assisted suicide Essay: Euthanasia and assisted suicide arouses deep moral beliefs about the value of life that are held by society.
It will also consider the ethical issues involved such as autonomy, paternalism, sanctity of life versus quality of life, utilitarianism, deontology and the slippery slope doctrine.
Patients approaching the end of life have advanced and incurable conditions like cancer, motor neurone diseases, etc and acute conditions caused by sudden disastrous events.
The provision of treatment and care towards the end of life often involve clinically complex and emotionally distressing decisions involving ethical issues and uncertainties about the law.
These decisions may include whether they wish to participate in medical research or they want a life saving treatment. In order to make an informed decision, the person making the decision must understand the reality of the situation and the consequences of their actions.
As provided by section 24 1 of the Mental Capacity Actan advanced decision spells out the treatments and procedures that the patient consents to and those that are against their wishes. The Act further provides that any adult who has mental capacity can choose a personal welfare lasting power of attorney who will decide on their future medical treatment if they do not have the mental capacity to do so.
The attorney may discuss about treatment options but cannot request for treatment that is clinically inappropriate.
The advance decision must be valid and applicable. Once there is any doubt about this decision, the case can be sent to the Court of Protection the legal body that supervises the Mental Capacity Act The fact that Sarah was in the last stages of motor neurone disease meant that she may be experiencing shortness of breath and paralysis which she did not want her family to witness.
Most people with motor neuron diseases like Sarah may think about ending their life at some point but it is not a common outcome especially in cases where there is a strong family and community support. Legal Position of End of Life Issues An act which causes death would be murder and an omission could be murder or manslaughter depending on whether or not there was a duty to continue with treatment.
Thus a doctor may face criminal prosecution in situations where he owes a duty to the victim but fails to act accordingly. In R Jenkins v HM Coroner for Portsmouth and South East Hampshire, however, it was held that no crime was committed if help was not offered to a dying patient who categorically refuses medical intervention.
A doctor will not breach his duty by failing to provide treatment if a competent patient does not approve the treatment.
In the case of Ms B v An NHS Trust, doctors refused to switch off the ventilator that kept her alive for ethical reasons, despite being pronounced capable of making a decision on whether or not to continue her medical treatment.
It has been argued that a competent person will never refuse basic care and for a person to be denied this, amounts to torture and inhumane treatment under Article 3 of the European Convention on Human Rights ECHR.
Furthermore, if the treatment is not in the best interest of the patient, a doctor is not required to do so as shown in Airedale NHS Trust v Bland.
Here, a court order was granted for the withdrawal of treatment for Bland because he was in a persistent vegetative state and there was no hope of recovery. It is important to note that in this case the medical treatment was not against his best interest but it did not promote them. Although there is no cure for motor neurone disease, medical treatment can help relieve the symptoms and slow down the progression of the condition.
Sarah is not likely to succeed with her request even if she should take the matter up legally as the treatment she is being given will help reduce the symptoms. Also, under sections of the Mental Capacity Actonce an incompetent patient has issued an effective advance directive stating that he does not want to receive life-sustaining treatment; it would be unlawful for the medical team to administer treatment.
Most people with motor neurone disease prepare an advance decision.
Sarah has the option of preparing an advance decision stating the kind of treatment she would like to receive in the very final stage of her disease. Euthanasia Euthanasia is an exceedingly controversial and divisive topic, which raises an array of complex ethical, social, moral, legal and religious concerns.
Euthanasia is illegal in England and is treated under UK law as either murder or manslaughter depending on the circumstances. In certain cases it results in a mandatory life sentence. Euthanasia can be classified in different ways according to whether the patient gives an informed consent.
These are voluntary, non-voluntary and involuntary euthanasia. These can also be divided into passive or active euthanasia.
Passive euthanasia occurs when the patient dies because the medical professionals withheld or withdrew treatment such as life support machines, ventilators, etc, that is necessary to keep the patient alive.
For the purpose of the discussion of this case, I will focus on voluntary and active euthanasia. Voluntary euthanasia occurs where the patient makes an informed decision to die and asks for help to do so.Is assisted suicide right or wrong?
The issue is looked at through many perspectives and arguments. College Links College Reviews College Essays College Articles. Magazine; Poetry; Assisted Suicide is Wrong.
December 4, legalizing assisted suicide is not the right choice. Not only. The best opinions, comments and analysis from The Telegraph. JSTOR is part of ITHAKA, a not-for-profit organization helping the academic community use digital technologies to preserve the scholarly record and to advance research and teaching in sustainable ways.
Suicide, homicide, physician-assisted suicide, violence (including domestic violence and gun violence), sudden death (from accidents and otherwise), dementia and other forms of lingering illness -- complex and difficult endings may bring complicated losses and complicated grief.
Suicide, from Latin suicidium, is "the act of taking one's own life". Attempted suicide or non-fatal suicidal behavior is self-injury with the desire to end one's life that does not result in death.
Assisted suicide is when one individual helps another bring about their own death indirectly via providing either advice or the means to the end. This is in contrast to euthanasia, where another.