Assisted suicide involves interventions that cause death. Qualified practitioners overdose barbiturates to cause loss of consciousness and at the end the. The topic is still a controversial subject. This paper provides an in-depth analysis of different concepts relating to the physician assistant. It also clearly defines assisted death and reasons for its position as an ethical issue in nursing. It further provides some of the pros and cons of physician-assisted death and gives some of the professional values that must be upheld to ensure, but the concept is not abused.
Other areas covered include personal position about assisted death, codes of ethics that govern the research process and how the concept of physician-assisted suicide shape nursing practice. According to the American Nursing Association (ANA), physician-assisted suicide involves the facilitation of a patient’s death through directing intervention by a practitioner (Ganzini 2017, p 19). It involves the provision of necessary measures and means that enable a patient to undergo end of life process.
Ethical issues surrounding assisted suicide
According to Ganzini (2017, p 7), there have been various terminologies used to define patient assisted suicide. Such terms include auto killing and self-killing. Initially, the provision applied to terminally ill patients; however, different regulations are not being introduced that thick to allow anyone to request for euthanasia. Currently, some parties favour physician-assisted suicide owing to the fact that it is painless and peaceful.
In a normal setting, patients are aware of the different interventions to the point where they lose consciousness. The practice has been legalized in several states in the US, such as California, Colorado, Oregon, Vermont. The case is also applicable in different regions within the United Kingdom. Ideally, physicians use lethal doses of barbiturates that then make one lose consciousness and, in the process, die.
Loss of consciousness and diagnosis of brain death at of confirmatory diagnosis. The concept has been growing in popularity. However, it raises both legal and ethical issues. This issue mostly affects healthcare institutions. Some ethical issues that emerged in discussions and debates surrounding euthanasia include issues relating to the provided value system and trust between patients and providers. In most part, nurses are expected to be aware of probable consequences that might arise after undertaking assisted suicide. the repercussions might be so we’re going to the fact that the process is irreversible
Why assisted death is an ethical issue
Physician-assisted suicide is an ethical issue because it deals with life and death. It involves decisions that permanently alter an individual’s state of consciousness. Different cultures have different views about life, and as a consequence, they hold different perspectives about reality. Some cultures openly talk about death, while others consider it a taboo subject.
The topic is controversial and raises ethical issues because several at the instances, patients might lose consciousness and therefore failed to give. Similarly, terminally-ill patients might fail to be in a position to make such decisions. Therefore, raising the question, who is supposed to give consent? Ideally, in cases where patients are not in a position to represent themselves are assigned assistants with the power of attorney. An assistant might be a wife or children.
The assistant role is to make decisions and determines the patient’s fate. The caretaker is supposed to give consent, therefore, raising the issue of whether another person should decide on life or death. The point, therefore, explains why the solute is controversial. Additionally, it is an ethical issue because it directly affects the norms of different cultures (Potter, J. 2019 p, 53). The Western culture openly talks about death, and the idea is different in other parts of the world. Some eastern, as well as African cultures, some of these regions, consider the topic at taboo, and therefore, it is important to integrate cultural competency while addressing issues relating to end of life.
Assisted suicide pros and cons
Physician-assisted suicide has both advantages and disadvantages. Like everything in life, physician-assisted suicide has both pros and cons. The cons are beneficial to the patient because, ideally, tremendous pain, as well as suffering, is saved (Dayer-Berenson, L. (2014, p 116). With assisted suicide, patients tend to die with dignity, and it is further characterized by minimal suffering. The advantage is more applicable in cases of terminally ill patients and the elderly.
Like the elderly terminally ill patients, the elderly have a poor prognosis. As Dayer-Berenson, L. (2014, p 117) appreciate, the prognosis justifies assisted death because, in most part, such an act aims to help patients minimize stress and burden to caregivers. For the case of the elderly, the body’s physiological processes change, which is characterized by reduced functionality and multiple failures.
The increasing depreciation of physiological functionalities calls for interventions that seek to improve quality of life. However, some interventions might fail to address emerging issue adequately and, as a consequence, affected individuals who then tend to live a low-quality life characterized by close monitoring and medication. One evident advantage is death with dignity characterized by minimal pain. Another advantage in reduced cost of care that would only have served to postpone death by a marginal time.
Different professional codes of ethics given solution assistants that practices. The regulations are aimed at minimizing any legal implications because, in most part, families might file a suit against a facility or practitioner in cases where procedures are followed. It is, therefore, imperative for a nurse practitioner to demonstrate some level of honesty and integrity.
Honesty is directly linked to competency, which then everts legal implications. Normally, it is relevant for assisting the practitioner in staying in close contact with close friends and relatives and using the channel to pass information of every step as it relates to the process of euthanasia. Similarly, the practitioner should demonstrate some level of integrity by doing the right things at the right time in the right place.
Other professional ethics that should be appreciated and demonstrated include demonstrating adaptability, being self-motivated, showing a strong level of dependency and responsibility. Additionally, Potter (2019 p, 22) acknowledges that practitioners should also demonstrate a positive attitude towards all the interventions being undertaken and, at the same time, be confident to demonstrate communication and cultural competency at all times.
How assisted suicide enhance nursing practice
Nothing practice is now being shaped by discussions about the role of nurses in performing physician assistant suicide (Stek 2017 p 91). Different interventions and now being aired that, in a way, shape how different professions govern nursing practice. In the same way, discussions about the need for minimizing painful and sensitive side is shaping up conversations with terminally ill and elderly patients. Berenson, L. (2014, p 113) states that conversations relating to euthanasia are now being encouraged because it has been identified to be one of the ways to improve the quality of life for people who are close to an older adult terminally ill person.
The conversation now covers the subject of minimizing pain by a patient and, at the same time, managing the cost of care, which directly in effect families, insurance companies discussions presenting the view that it is important to conduct physician assistant suicide undertaking the inevitable. As presented by different resources, arguments about the end of life are being supported by the view that medical interventions only serve to postpone the time of death.
It is evident that the physician’s assistant death, also known as assisted dying, presents ethical issues. Cultures hold different views about death, therefore, presenting the need to demonstrate cultural competency while handling patients who require assisted suicide. Initially, the concept was only limited to cases of terminal illness and in hospice care; however, different legal proceedings and now allow the procedure to be performed at will. The concept is still a subject of debate; however, different regions in the world now legally accept assisted dying. It is, in most part, terminally ill persons widely adopt the concept. Nurse practitioners are expected to demonstrate professionalism will handling cases of physician-assisted suicide.
- Dayer-Berenson, L. (2014). Cultural competencies for nurses: impact on health and illness.
- Jones & Bartlett Publishers.
- Ganzini, L. (2017). Legalized physician assisted death in Oregon—Eighteen years’ experience. In Assistierter Suizid: Der Stand der Wissenschaft (pp. 7-20). Springer, Berlin, Heidelberg.
- Potter, J. (2019). The psychological slippery slope from physician-assisted death to active euthanasia: a paragon of fallacious reasoning. Medicine, Health Care and Philosophy, 22(2), 239-244.
- Stek, M. (2017). Euthanasia, physician assisted suicide in the Netherlands in dementia and late life psychiatric illness. European Psychiatry, 41, S11.