Should Mr. Martinez be transferred to intensive care, where his respiratory failure can be treated by a ventilator or CPR if necessary, and his oxygen level can be monitored?.
Write a 2–3 page paper examining the moral and ethical issues involved in making a decision regarding limiting life support.
Having established a framework of ethical theories and principles, we begin looking at some current critical ethical issues, starting with end-of-life issues. Passive euthanasia is the removal or refusal of life-sustaining treatment, such as removal of a feeding tube or a ventilator, or forgoing a life-prolonging surgery.
Passive euthanasia is legal in all 50 states, and the principle of autonomy gives informed patients the right to refuse any and all treatments. Patients who cannot make such decisions in the moment (because they are unconscious, for example) may have expressed their intentions in an advance directive or similar document.
Things become more complicated, however, when an incapacitated patient has not made his or her wishes clear in a written document or via conversations with family members or friends.
Also problematic are cases in which there is disagreement about whether treatment is sustaining the life of a person in the full sense or merely as a body that, because of severe and irreversible brain trauma, is no longer truly a living person.
Case Study: Mr. Martinez.
This case study provides the context for this assessment; make sure you have reviewed it thoroughly.
It may also be useful to think through the following issues as they relate to Mr. Martinez’s case:
Should Mr. Martinez be transferred to intensive care, where his respiratory failure can be treated by a ventilator or CPR if necessary, and his oxygen level can be monitored?
What are the key ethical issues or models in this case study?
What are the key end-of-life issues in this case study?
How can an understanding of models and best practices guide health care practitioners to make ethical and legal decisions?
In a 2–3 page analysis of the case study, address the following:
The patient’s directives.
The patient’s quality of life.
The family’s stated preferences.
The moral issues associated with limiting life support.
The ethical principles most relevant to reaching an ethically sound decision.
Important considerations such as implications, justifications, and conflicts of interest that might arise because of the patient’s respiratory failure.
When writing your assessment, assume that doctors cannot contact Mrs. Martinez and must make this decision on their own. To help you reach an objective, ethically sound choice, draw upon concepts and arguments from the suggested resources or your own research. Support your response with clear, concise, and correct examples, weaving and citing the readings and media throughout your answer.
Written communication: Written communication is free of errors that detract from the overall message.
APA formatting: Resources and citations are formatted according to current APA style and formatting guidelines.
Length: 2–3 typed, double-spaced pages.
Font and font size: Times New Roman, 12 point.
Ethics of End-of-Life Issues
Use the following to wrestle with some of the more complicated ethical aspects related to end-of-life issues. It will also give you the opportunity to think through your responses and responsibilities related to these issues. This is for your own self-assessment.
Ethics of End-of-Life Issues.
Frontline. (2012). The suicide plan [Video]. PBS.
This video explores the clandestine world of assisted suicide. Physician-assisted suicide is legal in two states, Oregon and Washington, but only for the terminally ill. Elsewhere, those contemplating suicide turn to friends, family, and activist right-to-die organizations. When people choose to kill themselves, their assisters face a range of legal consequences, so they are advised to hide evidence and tell few people about their intentions. This documentary offers a balanced, informative view of an issue few want to contemplate.
Running time: 01:25:38.
As you watch the video, consider the following:
What are your thoughts about the people who were arrested for helping a parent or friend die? They broke the law, but do you believe they did anything morally wrong?
Did the film change your mind about laws banning physician-assisted suicide?
What do you think of Dr. Timothy Quill’s claim in the video that there is no moral difference between a doctor removing life-sustaining treatment upon a patient’s request (which is legal) and a doctor hastening the death of a terminally ill patient who asks for such help (which is illegal in most U.S. states)? Do you agree or disagree?
Should those who have a treatable illness but do not want to prolong life through treatment have the option of physician-assisted suicide?
General Education Information Skills Library Guide.
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