Sarah Green's Life Is No Longer Worth Living Analysis

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Sarah Green is ninety one years old. Due to a broken hip, she has been admitted to a nursing home. Her quality of life is declining and she is losing her ability to walk. Her vision has been steadily declining as well, meaning that she can no longer read. Unfortunately for Sarah, reading is her favorite activity. She has no close family. She has no friends. She no longer has visitors. Each month Sarah is coerced by her nurses to receive a blood transfusion that leaves her feeling drained like a sponge that has been fully rung. The transfusions help to stabilize her condition, but Sarah has made it clear that she does not wish to continue suffering. At this point she feels that her life is no longer worth living. She has been evaluated …show more content…

In a discussion of beneficence, Munson claims, “ We should act in ways that promote the welfare of other people”(page 3). The nurses may believe that it is their moral obligation to do everything they can to extend Sarahs life. It also may be said that Sarah is not in the best state of mind to determine her own destiny in this matter. We know she is old. We know she is sick. We can safely assume that some sort of depression is a result her low quality of life. Can we really be certain that a dying elderly human is of sound mind? An argument certainly can be made that Sarah’s current condition is affecting her judgment in this matter. Another point could be made that Sarah is ultimately still in control of her own medical treatment. No one is holding her down and sticking her with needles like a pincushion. Furthermore, it could be argued that even under the nurses influence, she is not denied her personal autonomy. The point could also be made that Sarah’s right to autonomy may be overridden by the principle of paternalism. According to Ronald Munson, paternalism is defined as follows: “...we are justified in restricting someone 's freedom to act if doing so is necessary to prevent him from harming himself...the principle of paternalism justifies restricting someone’s autonomy if by doing so we can benefit her”(page 4). Based on this logic, one feels justified in interfering with Sarah’s autonomy, as long as she benefits from the interference. One might believe that it is in the best interest of Sarah to live as long as possible, regardless of her wishes to leave this

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