Ethics Article review
The article is on a five-year girl who has an incurable disease, and the issue is whether her parents should respect her decision not to take her hospital, let her die and go to heaven. The disease is known as Charcot Marie Tooth disease. She tells her parents that she would rather go to heaven rather than spend any extra day in the hospital. This story about Julianne leaves a lot of ethical questions; does her age affect her ability to make a decision? Is it right to follow her will not to go to the hospital?
Allowing one to terminate life at their command has always raised ethical questions especially under circumstances such as; whether in a case where one has made a decision to terminate their life at their will; where there is enough proof that continuation of life will have more to lose and will only bring more harm to the person. Also, the issue that is terminating life under whatever circumstance is immoral because life is not granted by human beings, and, therefore, no one has a right to take it away, (Patrick 2015,pp 624).
Some people have argued that when one is going through extreme pain or desperation due to incurable diseases, it is unreasonable to believe that such a patient has any other than death. It also raises issues of fairness and justice where those in the care of the patient feel the sharp burden of taking care of the hospital bills, (Joseph, 2015). The argument here is that it would be okay to let people terminate life where the medical bills are too high that it makes it impossible to continue taking care of the patient and yet the disease will finally consume the person. This is in controversy with the position held by the physicians who have an obligation to protect life at whatever cost having taken the oath not to do harm.
Some proponents believe in death with dignity where they feel that a patient who has been going through excruciating pain and painful moment and where doctors have confirmed that there is no cure, which the patient should have a right to choose to terminate their life with dignity. They argue that this option should be left to patients who feel that there is no need to let their relatives incur costs and yet there is no improvement anticipated. Oregon, which is the only state in the US that allows physicians to allow dying with dignity prescribe that where a patient voluntarily without the interference by physician chooses to terminate his/her life and that the relatives have accepted then such should be allowed, (Cate 2015, pp797).
Many groups have come out to say that taking care of a patient should be a priority in the US as opposed to giving guidelines on how and when the physician should assist in terminating life. The supporters of improving the final and end days of one’s life argue that physicians should come up new methods of treating symptoms such as excessive pain that are used as reasons to terminate life. Cases in the courts such as Washington v Glucksberg have supported this idea that patients should be assisted to reduce pain rather that allowing physicians to assist in self-suicide, that there should be a better focus on how to make better improvements when a patient is about t to die, (Cate 2015, pp797).
When children are about to die, parents come into the picture and the question raised is whether the parents have a right to step in the shoes of the child and make that decision to terminate life. Some believe that parents know best, and hence, the decision of the parent should be respected. However, some people have argued that parents may not always be objective and hence should be allowed to make final decisions. This argument proposes that such children should be involved in the decision-making.
Whether for or not, while making the decision it should always be clear that the terminal illness is well defined, the mental competency of the patient and their families should be ascertained, fears on pain and end of life stress should be managed and the issue of the social status that may prejudice some families.
ReferencesMcEvoy, Patrick. “Euthanasia, ethics, and the Gordian Knot.” Br J Gen Pract 65.641 (2015): 624-625.
Fletcher, Joseph F. Morals and Medicine, Princeton University Press, 2015.
Hopia, Hilkka. “Ethical decision-making process in euthanasia and physician-assisted suicide from nurses’ perspective.” (2015).
Ten Cate, Katja, et al. “End-of-life decisions for children under one year of age in the Netherlands: decreased the frequency of administration of drugs to deliberately hasten death.” Journal of medical ethics 41.10 (2015): 795-798.
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