Assisted Suicide Vs Passive Euthanasia

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In Greek, Euthanasia directly translates as “good death”. Euthanasia is defined as performing interventions or administering medications with the intention of causing a patient’s death in order to relieve pain or suffering (Asch, 1996). There are many moral, ethical and legal issues regarding the topic of euthanasia. This paper will discuss in detail: the definition, history, current issues, effects of euthanasia on families, clinical practicing nurse perspectives and the American Nurse Association opinion on euthanasia. Euthanasia may be categorized in two different approaches: passive or active euthanasia. Passive euthanasia is when a patient is allowed to die on his or her own time, or as a natural disease progression. Passive euthanasia…show more content…
Asch (1997), found17 percent of critical care nurses reported they had received requests from patients or family members to perform euthanasia or assist in suicide, 16 percent reported they had engaged in such practices and 4 percent reported they had hastened a patient’s death by only pretending to provide life-sustaining treatment ordered by a physician. The most common method of euthanasia reported was the administration of a lethal dose of an opiate. The patients in the reports were described as close to death, or the families had already decided to “pull the plug”. The patients were withdrawing from mechanical ventilation and multiple nurses reported administering larger than ordered doses during this time to hasten death. Asch (1997), also reported a total of 342 nurses reported that they had wanted to engage in euthanasia but did not proceed. Many of the 342 nurses reported they feared getting caught, and concerns that the patient’s preferences were not fully understood. This article showed critical care nurses constantly face difficult moral, ethical, and professional dilemmas regarding patient care. It is of the utmost importance for nurse’s to understand their own values so they may provide the highest care possible and deliver…show more content…
The ANA will provide consultation to nurses working in states where assisted suicide is legal, to assist them in upholding their professional responsibilities. The ANA also recognizes the moral distress they may encounter when confronted with these situations. It is important for nurses to stay up to date with current legislation and ongoing debates associated with euthanasia. Education should impel nurse to be advocates for their patients and decide with the coherent and lucid patient what is best for their quality of

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