Although there are many positive aspects of medically assisted suicide, there are also many negative aspects. Those who disagree with assisted suicide feel as though it is unethical. How is it ever right for us to purposefully kill another human being. As a health care providers role, it is their duty to do whatever they can to maintain the wellness of their patient. According to 8 Main Pros and Cons of Legalizing Physician Assisted Suicide (2014), all health care providers must follow the Hippocratic Oath, which in it states that physicians are unable to give deadly medications to a patient, whether requested or not and they aren’t allowed to suggest it to a terminally ill patient either.
An Advance directive serves as an important set of documents for any individual to have but even more so, for older adults who may potentially be at an even greater risk of hospitalization. Every competent adult has the legal right to be informed of the purpose, benefits, risks, and alternatives of any medical treatment to be given, along with the right to refuse any medical procedures (American Cancer Society, 2015). Advance directive allows for choices regarding medical care to be within a patient’s control and for ease in decision making of circumstances, where unwanted medical treatments and procedures would be used in effort to preserve life at any cost. This legal document also helps to alleviate the burden potentially felt by a patient’s family. As seen with the legal case of Terri Schiavo, a young woman who at 27 years old lived in a persistent vegetative state as a result of cardiac arrest, went through a publicized legal battle between her husband and family to determine whether to discontinue the use of tube feeding (Annas, 2005, p. 2).
In case of elective surgery, the patients are being informed about risk and benefit of the blood transfusion as well as the consequences of the refusal of the transfusion. Usually, Jehovah’s Witness patients have to sign a consent form which excludes the blood transfusion. In case of emergency, the doctors try to save the life. When they learn about the patient is a member of the Jehovah’s Witness, then it becomes a very challenging situation for them. They have to balance between the respect for the patient’s belief and their own commitment to promote and protect a patient’s life.
Consent is when a patient accepts the medication, procedure or treatment plan. If a patient does not consent, then a doctor or a nurse cannot enforce medication, a procedure or treatment against the patient's will. Panzer (2000) articulates that regardless of a patient having a terminal illness, elderly, disabled or sick it does not decrease the value of their life. However, no one knows with certainty when a terminally ill patient will die. Some patients die within days, weeks, months or even years.
Many states are starting to limit parental rights as P. Jon White (2009), MD, director of health IT, stated in Privacy and Security Solutions that “the HIPAA Privacy Rule defers to state law as to whether a health care provider may or may not notify parents of such treatment and whether the parents have right of access to the medical records associated with such treatment.” (White, p.7). Many agree with this statement because they believe that teenagers are not brainless and that they would go to a doctor if something seemed different than normal. By letting teens make their own decisions, they think teens will become more independent and self-confident. This would stop them from making mistakes later in life. A majority of parents make all the decisions for their youth.
A person acting as the Durable Power of Attorney can implement several important necessities for example: making medical decisions not covered by a living will. The appointed Medical Power of Attorney in a legal document is supposed to make all medical decisions. The document can specify when the acting person takes on the responsibility of Medical Power of Attorney. This document can identify if medical interventions are wanted or not needed. Two forms guide the Medical Power Of Attorney: the “Living Will” and “Advance Medical Directive” and clearly indicates what course of action the patient would want taken in medical circumstances.
What will the doctors tell the family members of the patient? Something like, “We didn’t try to save his or her life because a machine said he or she wouldn’t make it”? That would be absolutely unheard of and completely unethical and many hospitals would have an insane amount of issues from the family members of those patients. Some may say that it allows a more effective use of limited medical resources, due to the fact that the patient would have to go under expensive procedures even though they most likely will not live. Although, every patient should be treated equally no matter their condition because one may never know that they may actually save a life against all odds, it has happened before.
The physician has to remain willing to care for and the patient has to remain willing to be cared for and that is a respect for life. PAS neglects that respect for life. Dyck then says that when the respect of life is present in the patient, they seek pain relief methods which have shown to successfully prolong life and ease pain until the illness takes the life of the patient (Dyck, 40). Killing is also a violation of an individual’s inalienable right to life, according to Dyck. He states that suicide leaves adverse effects on those that are intertwined with that individual’s life.
The United States is composed of many cultures, traditions and religious beliefs, sometimes making it difficult to find the right treatment for each individual patient. Some may believe their religion will cure them from any disease and therefore reject any medical care, which can lead to unplanned visits to the emergency department, and to add to the situation there is also language barriers. “Members of certain religious communities are convinced that their religious beliefs and practices reduce their risk for chronic diseases (Christiansen et al). Religious beliefs can influence members to maintain a healthy diet and lifestyle, which will decrease their risk for heart failure. The Seventh-Day Adventists (SDA) communities advocate against alcohol consumption, tobacco smoking and recommend a lacto-ovo-vegetarian diet, members are expected to be physically active and have stable social relationships (Christiansen et al).
Physicians should consider whether further treatment will abide by these two principles, and if not, futility ensues. It is ethical for physicians to decline to provide treatment, which is judged to be medically inappropriate, either where such treatment is not in the interest of the patient, or where there are insufficient resources to provide treatment of this level of benefit. For example, treatment should be labeled futile for a young patient with severe and multiple trauma who is in coma (in absence of brain death) despite optimal therapy and no reversible causes are identifiable or a patient with end-organ dysfunction on prolonged life supportive therapies, having no improvement. The concept of medical futility is in line with social justice and is more pronounced in resource restrictive settings The following table (Table 1 ) may serve as a guide to recognize medical futility. These points should not be used in isolation, but in the context of the clinical status of the patient.
5) Make sure documentation is specific to the individual patient in question and does not contain information on other patients, not even other family members. 6) For young adults, check to see whether they are covered under their own policy or through their parents. Their parents do not have an automatic right to their records even though they provide the insurance coverage. Make sure you are not inadvertently giving out unauthorized access to medical records just because the parent is paying the bills. If there is no authorization on file granting them access, these records belong to the adult child and not the parent through whom insurance is being provided.