Contact Us
Sign In / Sign Up for FREE
Go to advanced search...


Comments (0) Cite this document
In determining whether a person is dead or not in which proof is taken through checking of a person’s vital signs is not part of legal conclusion…
Download full paperFile format: .doc, available for editing
GRAB THE BEST PAPER96.4% of users find it useful
Read TextPreview


Law Healthcare Ethics and End of Life Decisions Factors considered in court in defining death When it comes to law death is taken as an event that happens at a particular and precise moment in time and not a continuing event. In determining whether a person is dead or not in which proof is taken through checking of a person’s vital signs is not part of legal conclusion but relatively a medical judgment (Leaman & Glennys, 2001). In a court of law there are various factors that ought to be considered in defining. These factors include when and how the death occurred. Another factor that has to be considered is whether another individual needs to be charged for causing it or if it was under natural circumstances. There are also several factors that the court needs to look at as there comes a time when the court has to decide what type of treatment can be administered, withdrawn or withheld from a patient. Most important factors include whether a patient is competent or incompetent (Cohen-Almagor, 2001). A competent patient is seen by the court as an individual who is able to give informed consent or otherwise refuse treatment while incompetent patient is unable or lacks the capacity to do the same. In regard to individual autonomy the court is obliged to honor the consent of a competent patient in regard to their medical attention. When it comes to incompetent patient for example one that is in a comma, he or she cannot make an informed decision therefore an “advance directive” may be required in order to make a decision such as termination of life sustaining care and treatment.
Case in which death is defined
In the case quinlan, 70 N.J. 10, 355 A. 2d 647 is an example of a case where death is defined. Karen Ann Quinlan was in a vegetative state whereby she was brain dead and relied on mechanical respirator and artificial nutrition to sustain her. The courts were right to rule that a patient’s guardian and parents have the legal right to have a right of privacy on behalf of the patient. In so doing patients who are in an incompetent state can be safeguarded from suffering by their legal guardians or parents.
The above definition however cannot be used as the universal definition as there are several definitions for the death. Some of the most common definitions are as follows: The common traditional meaning has always been adopted from Black’s Law Dictionary. The dictionary states that death is the “termination of respiration, heartbeat, and some of the central nervous system functionality, such as pulsation and respiration” (Pozgar, 2012). Most medical journals also define death as the end of life and dying as the process individuals undergoes leading to death which also includes all actions and choices in that process (Council on Ethical and Judicial Affairs, American Medical Association, 1994). When it comes to law there are different types of death, but not all of them mean end or termination of life. There is civil death which does not mean end of life but a state in which a convicted criminal is sentenced to life imprisonment (Leaman & Glennys, 2001). Such a person forfeits his or her civil rights. Other forms of death under the law include legal death, wrongful death, natural death, violent death, and brain death. To define death the courts have to consider certain factors before coming up with the conclusion that a patient is legally dead. To solve this matter the court necessarily needs the service of a physician who can be able to diagnose the patient under various conditions. The patient can either be dead, in a persistent vegetative state or terminally ill (p. 427). From the above definitions it is clear why not there ought to be only one universal definition for death but rather the definition should rely on the basis of the case being handled.
Works Cited
Cohen-Almagor, R. (2001). Cohen-Almagor, Raphael. 2001. The Right to Die With Dignity: An Argument in Ethics, Medicine, and Law. New Brunswick, N.J.: Rutgers Univ. Press.
Council on Ethical and Judicial Affairs, American Medical Association. (1994). Code of Medical Ethics. Chicago: American Medical Association.
Leaman, O., & Glennys, H. (2001). How Encyclopedia of Death and Dying. New York: Routledge. New York: Routledge.
Pozgar, G. (2012). Legl aspects of health care administration. Sudbury, MA: Jones & Bartlett. Read More
Cite this document
  • APA
  • MLA
Retrieved from
  • Cited: 0 times
Comments (0)
Click to create a comment or rate a document


End of life debate

...? Ethical End of Life Decisions and Different Considerations: A case of Systemic Lupus Erythematous (SLE) Patient College) This paper will try to discuss and justify my position to support the continuity of life of patients with Systemic Lupus Erythematous (SLE) in reference to various end of life decisions by looking into the different aspects of medical care as well as the ethical, social, and financial considerations that should be taken relative to the patient’s medical care.It consulted several academic materials in order to support and understand the above considerations to support...
5 Pages(1250 words)Essay

Alzheimer's Disease and End of Life Decisions

... patient died (Lau, 2007). The susceptibility of a person being infected by this disease increase with increase in age, hence older people are most likely to get it. Alzheimer’s disease, once diagnosed has no cure or reverse, death is always there even after treatment (Soukup, 1996). This work shall be divided into three main sections, where the first section will address the disease, what causes it, what are the symptoms of the disease in each stage, and briefly address the issue of prevention. The second part of this work shall address the very sensitive part on the ethical issues faced by families /surrogates making end of life decisions on behalf of family members with Alzheimer’s disease. The last part will be a discussion... are to...
11 Pages(2750 words)Research Paper

Decisions at the End of Life

...Decisions at the End of Life Introduction: Medical profession today is 'Accountable' to the society .i.e. obliged to the laws regulating the professional activity. One of the most difficult realities the doctors face is that, despite efforts and good care, some patients will die, either due to the nature of the diseases like Cancer or AIDS or due to developments related to patient's age and health conditions. Although, technological advances in health can bring extended and improved quality of life, the ability of these technologies to prolong life beyond a meaningful point has raised ethical issues, especially in "nothing more can be...
2 Pages(500 words)Essay

End-of-Life Care

...on communication skills in bereavement, understanding loss, cultural and spirituality issues, providing support and information for the bereaved. An article by Rolland & Kalman says that although there are programs in place to educate nurses but many have not been evaluated for efficacy. They recommend including hospice and palliative care clinical rotations to provide practical experience with dying patients. They also recommend that healthcare institutions need to include end- of- life competencies for new RN graduates (2007). A study by Adams (2010) encourages the incorporation of end-of-life courses in nursing curricula so students can become more...
6 Pages(1500 words)Essay


...are not worthy of living. Those in support of wrongful births maintain that the parents of the unborn child should have the autonomic interest of settle on whether or not to have a child. Further, the parents might want to know whether their fetus is in danger of a congenital or a genetic disease. In this regard, the doctor who negligently fails to put the parents of the unborn child aware of their baby’s condition deprives them of a right; a right to make informed choices or decisions regarding their procreative lives. Conclusion Humanity can solve the controversies surrounding wrongful births. The best way to approach these issues is to determine the value of life. However, none should get away with...
2 Pages(500 words)Essay


...Healthcare Ethics and End of Life Decisions Physician assisted suicide is one of the most controversial issues in the medical field. A large section of society feels that it is wrong for anyone to aid another in terminating life. This is irrespective of the health situation or condition. However, this position is considered more ideal than actual given the situation of terminally ill patients and others undergoing absolute suffering. Under these circumstances, it may be considered fair for a physician to help in terminating life. In such a situation, assisted suicide is considered a preferable option given that there is no chance that the patient may recover. Given a situation where the patient prefers death, the physician has... and...
2 Pages(500 words)Essay


... citing the right to life principle, as they did not agree to the father ending the life of the boy prematurely. In addition, the case presented the respect for autonomy to which the boy could not make the decision on whether to live or not because of the medical state and age of the boy (Zahedi, Larijani & Bazzaz, 2007). In this regard, the father decided to pull the plug after seeing that the boy was not getting any better hence going contrary to these two ethical principles. Reasons leading to the decision made by medics Ideally, siding with the request made by the parents of removing their son from the machine was not an option that the healthcare providers were willing to entertain. They stood their ground by maintaining... ...
2 Pages(500 words)Essay

End of Life Decisions: Making the right choice for you interventions. Patients’ rights to self-determination of treatment help them to participate in making key decisions about healthcare. Self-determination refers the right of competent individuals to decide about their health during medical treatment (Cersosimo, 2011). Medical experimentation during end life can sometimes be stopped especially when physicians realize that cannot be controlled anymore, but again the patient has all the right to refuse certain therapeutic or diagnosis to be performed on them. Furthermore, ethics and effectiveness of continued routine medical interventions play a significant role in enabling patients’...
8 Pages(2000 words)Research Paper

Honoring Patient Autonomy at End-of-life decisions

...-of-life patient would want. This makes it very difficult for medical practitioners who must reconcile ethical and legal responsibilities linked to patient autonomy with substitute decision-makers (Dreyer, et al., 673). At the end of the day, end-of-life patients’ consent is important because it can be assumed that rational human beings would not want to be subjected to futile and often invasive, life-prolonging treatment or given false hope of prolonging life. At the same time, the quality of life for end-of-life patients is an important aspect of the...
20 Pages(5000 words)Thesis

End of Life Paper

...Nursing care for dying children PART There are a lot of things living in the world and each one of them has a life time that once its end comes around, there is little that even science can do; a phenomenon which has led to the shifting of blame to the failure of science (Morgan,2009). With this in mind, human beings have accepted the fact that one has to die to complete the cycle of life. According to Morgan, when a child dies, this cycle seems unnatural; it’s so sudden that the human potential is lost, and dreams quickly become shattered and vanish while its regarded as a loss to not only the parent, but to the society. (Morgan, 2009). The parents, siblings and the health care...
4 Pages(1000 words)Essay
sponsored ads
We use cookies to create the best experience for you. Keep on browsing if you are OK with that, or find out how to manage cookies.

Let us find you another Essay on topic HEALTHCARE ETHICS AND END OF LIFE DECISIONS for FREE!

Contact Us