Topic:Legal and ethical issues
Legaland ethical issues
Allthe medical decisions at the end of life have complicatedpsychological ramifications and implications which have aconsiderable effect on the suffering as well as quality of life anddying. Furthermore, medical end of life decisions are typically verychallenging for people with different forms of illnesses such asAlzheimer’s along with those taking care of them. Every associateddecision is supposed to be addressed in regards to relievingsuffering and while considering the beliefs and values of the personwho is dying along with members of his or her family(Sherman & Matzo, 2014). Additionally,any structure of medical care possesses associated primary valueswhich may or may not match the values of the patient.
Oneof the ethical decision that Frank and Sarah have to deal withrevolves around the fact that all human life has inherent worth. Thisimplies that it is not proper to take action that will end the lifeof a person either in a direct or indirect manner regardless of thequality of the life being considered. Among the challengesencountered when considering quality of life is the issue how it isdefined and the people who define it since in this case the view ofthe family members may differ from Anne’s view as she is the oneliving that life. Nevertheless, this aspect does not eliminate thechallenge to sanctity of the doctrine of life and some situations mayexist where an individual’s quality of life, irrespective of how itis defined, it too poor to the point that it is not supposed to bemaintained even though it may be possible to doso (Lorenzl, 2013).It is important to note that there is dissimilarity between killing aperson actively and abstaining from acting in a manner that willpreserve or save the individuals life. Therefore, Frank and Sarahhave to make a decision on whether allowing Anne to go hungry on thebasis that her quality of life is so poor, and that the costs oftreating her are so high, will be in her best interests.
Inregards to legal decisions, the position associated with issues ofend of life is clear but the application of the legal doctrines inactual circumstances may be challenging. The legal decisions thatFrank and Sarah have to deal with can be considered to emanate fromsome of the ethical considerations that affect similar situations. Tobegin with, it is against the law to cause a person’s deathregardless of whether the person has consented or not. Further,failing to act, which ultimately leads to the death of the patient,can be permitted in instances where it is not in the interests of thepatient to persist with the treatment (Carrasco-Gallardo, Farías,Fuentes, Crespo, & Maccioni, 2012).However, Frank and Sarah must be aware that withdrawal or withdrawingtreatment for Anne can be classified as omission of an act which isillegal.
Ultimately,it is critical for Frank and Sarah to note that artificial hydrationand nutrition can be considered as a type of medical treatment andthat there is not different between omitting Anne’s treatment ornot forcing her to eat, and discontinuing her treatment after it hasalready began. When making the decision on what to do in regards towhether to provide treatment or not considering Anne’s situation,they should assess whether it is in Anne’s best interests that herlife to be prolonged. They should further take into account theprevious wishes that Anne had presented when they are assessing herbest interests.
Carrasco-Gallardo,C., Farías, G., Fuentes, P., Crespo, F., & Maccioni, R. (2012).Can Nutraceuticals Prevent Alzheimer`s Disease? Potential TherapeuticRole of a Formulation Containing Shilajit and Complex BVitamins. ArchivesOf Medical Research, 43(8),699-704. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.arcmed.2012.10.010
Lorenzl,S. (2013). End of one`s life—Decision making between autonomy anduncertainty. GeriatricMental Health Care, 1(3),63-66. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.gmhc.2013.04.009
Sherman,D. & Matzo, M. (2014). PalliativeCare Nursing: Quality Care to the End of Life.Springer Publishing Company.