SCHOLARLY ETHICAL - Research Paper Example

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Should Nurses Assist in the Withdrawal of Life Support Systems? 1.0. Overview: Ethics and Nursing Nursing has an ethical dimension. In the delivery of quality health care, the question of what is right and wrong is always involved in the work of nurses. This is because the work of nurses involves making decisions…
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Download file to see previous pages These are some of the ethical questions that may confront a nurse and even other health professionals. The ethical goal of a health professional’s practice is to deliver a caring response given an ethical issue or question (Purtilo and Doherty, 2011, p. 25). 2.0. Relevance of the Ethical Issue on the Withdrawal of Life Support System The issue on whether it is ethical for nurses to assist patients or their relatives in the withdrawal of life support systems for patients is highly relevant because the issue is frequently encountered in the setting of terminally ill cancer patients, stroke, heart attacks, and other illnesses where patients can become comatose. In this case, the case for withdrawing the life system can be debated especially if there are no signs that the patient will recover from the situation soon. The ethical issue is also relevant in situations where the patient is terminally ill as determined by a competent medical professional, believed to be without possibility of recovery from the standpoint of medical science, and in extreme and serious pain at the same time. Finally, the ethical issue may also be relevant in situations where nobody is footing the bill for the life support system and, yet, the patient does not show signs of recovering from a condition or illness believed to be terminal as determined by a competent medical professional. 3.0. My Argument My argument is for an affirmative response to withdraw the life support system where any of the following applies. Firstly, in situations where the patient is assessed by a competent health professional that he is or she is terminally ill with no bright hope of recovery and in serious in pain. Secondly, where the patient is in coma and there is no indication of recovery from the illness or situation. Thirdly, when the patient is brain-dead, there is no sign that the patient will recover, and that no one is footing the bill for his or her medical expense. The ethical principle or theory on which I base my perspective is utilitarianism. Utilitarianism “is the creed which accepts as the foundation of morals, the greatest happiness principle” (Mack, 2004, p. 63). Mack (2004, p. 63) continues that “it holds that actions are right in proportion to happiness and wrong as they tend to produce the reverse of happiness.” Allowing a person to suffer extreme pain when dying will highly magnify the grief and sufferings not only of his or her loved ones but also of the patient. A person who is brain dead with no likelihood of waking up and surviving produces grief for his or her loved ones. Most likely, if a patient in coma is asked of his or her opinion on his or her situation (situation of prolonged coma and prolong suffering for her loved ones), he or she would vote for the withdrawal of his or her life support system. If nobody is footing the bill for one’s life support system and dying or not waking up is the likely outcome, then it might also be better if the life support system of the individual is withdrawn. 4.0. Counter-Argument Those who subscribe to the deontological or duty-oriented theories on ethics will probably oppose my position. According to Edge and Groves (2006, p. 38), “deontological ethicists feel that the basic rightness or wrongness of an act depend on its intrinsic nature than on the situation or ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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