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MEDICAL ETHICS

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MEDICAL ETHICS
Medical Ethics
The 21st century confronts medical practitioners with new challenges every day. The
practice of euthanasia and assisted suicide is top on the list of these medical concerns and the
trends suggest that these need to be deliberated upon to provide for a standard unambiguous
response structure to exonerate medical practitioners from the burden of making the decisions
some of which weigh heavily on them and attract dire consequences. The subject of
euthanasia particularly raises concerns because of the ethical and legal attributes that
surround it. There is a professional dilemma placed on medical and health care practitioners
that make the subject most sensitive.
On one hand, conservatives see it as an act that must be deterred and one that must not
be given the green light. The more radical members of the society see it as an onus on health
care facilities to not only protect life but also protect the interests of those whose lives are to
be protected. Conversely, they argue that the right to life is also a right to take ones own life
and one that must be respected just as much as the reverse. In this case, all the three questions
are brought up. For a binding decision to be made, one must consider whether or not
euthanasia is actually an act of mercy killing or a brutal unethical act to further personal
interests. The other question is the patients thoughts on the issue. The dilemma is whether or
not the medical institution should grant Mergie Whitsons requests for the pace maker to be
turned off.
Traditionally, euthanasia has been a canvas that covers patients living in extreme pain
or those in prolonged commas with terminal illnesses. It has also became apparent that most
patients become delusional when suffering because of the psychological stress that these
ailments bring those who are affected. For the patients opinion to be admissible, it is
imperative that we consider the circumstances under which such utterances are made

MEDICAL ETHICS
(Emanuel, Daniels, Fairclough, & Clarridge, 2003). A determination must be made of
whether or not they are lucid or delirious at the time of making such demands. The other
question that must be answered to make a determination is the extent of the legal right to life;
whether or not it implies an opposite right to end ones life. Traditionally speaking, the
existence of such a right has been in doubt considering the fact that the law expressly
precludes suicidal actions from what it considers permissible (Munson, 1999).
There are conceptual issues that must be assessed to assist the decision making
process. These issues include but are not limited to intention of the physicians in question, the
difference between acting in a certain way or refraining from acting inn a certain way,
consent et cetera. The legal definitions suggest that euthanasia constitute refraining from
continuing a certain treatment in this case, the pacemaker. It also involves a voluntary request
which means that certain patients such as infants, comatose patients or insane patients are
excluded. The question of the state of mind is raised because in this instance, the patient is
exhibiting delirious tendencies such consistent with insanity. This request is extremely
paradoxical from a medical practitioners point of view considering the fact that the
Hippocratic Oath to which all medical personnel are subjected to is a promise to protect lives
at all instances without exceptions (Wal & Dillman, 1994).
At least all practising physicians have received at least one request of Euthanasia,
whether directly or indirectly (Maas, Wall, & Bosma, 1996). The practise has been that
Mercy killing is generally outlawed in many states. There are however certain restricted
conditions under which it may be allowed in certain states. These conditions are extreme and
the current case at hand does not qualify to grant the request. In view of protecting the dignity
of the undersigned and in furtherance of the objects and aspirations of medical practitioners I
would not grant such a demeaning request. The conditions that have led the patient to decide
to end her life are medically known to be temporary and not permanently terminal as the

MEDICAL ETHICS
circumstances that merit such a call (Wal & Dillman, 1994). In the case of California V
Conrad Murray, the doctor was found guilty of murder for prescribing strong stimulants in
excessive doses at the request of the patient (Michael Jackson). It is my opinion that the
circumstances in this case are not any different and that the findings of the state court must be
upheld in all instances.

MEDICAL ETHICS
References
Emanuel, E., Daniels, E., Fairclough, D., & Clarridge, B. (2003, December 20). Euthanasia
and physician-assisted suicide: attitudes and experiences of oncology patients,
oncologists, and the public. 347(9018). Boston, Massachusetts, United States of
America: Division of Biostatistics, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.
Maas, P. J., Wall, G. v., & Bosma, J. M. (1996, November 28). Euthanasia, PhysicianAssisted Suicide, and Other Medical Practices Involving the End of Life in the
Netherlands, 19901995. Rotterdam, Rotterdam, the Netherlands., Netherlands.:
Department of Public Health, Erasmus University Rotterdam, Rotterdam.
Munson, R. (1999, January). Intervention and Reflections; Basic Issues in Medical Ethics. 3,
6, 565. Chicago, IL: Wardsworth Publishers.
Wal, G. V., & Dillman, R. J. (1994, May). Euthanasia in the Netherlands. 308, 1349.
Antwerp, Belgium: The European Resuscitation Council.