Euthanasia And Physician Assisted Suicide Literature Review

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Euthanasia and physician assisted suicide is at the forefront of ethical medicine. The debate is muddled in a sea of grey areas on the ethical spectrum. Patients may chose to end their own life in a variety of means. These methods are in some situations illegal and always a hot button topic of debate. One of the ways that patients can dodge the legality of the situation is VSED (voluntary stopping of eating and drinking). Often under discussed and under researched in some situations where a patient makes the choice to VSED, all parties in the patient 's health care are involved. I chose to conduct a literature review of this topic after facing it in a hospice situation of a younger and mentally capable patient who chose to refuse
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In the medical field the patient is the customer and the customer is always right. Those in the health care profession are also obligated to do no harm and enter the field to heal. When a patient wants assistance in dying, what are their options? What is the responsibility of those in care of that patient? Schwarz (2003) states that according to the ANA (American Nurses Association) "Assisted Suicide includes providing the means to end life, such as prescription for a lethal amount of drugs, the drugs themselves, or other measures to a person with knowledge of the person 's intentions" (Schwarz, 2003). Euthanasia is a deliberate act causing death in a person who is otherwise incapable (Schwarz, 2003, P. 337). Evans (2015) also agrees that assisted suicide is the act of assisting someone to kill themselves and "Physician assisted suicide is defined as taking place when a doctor intentionally assists a person in committing suicide by providing medication for self-administering, at the person 's voluntary and competent request" (P. …show more content…
Schwarz (2007) examines VSED and tries to answer questions that are often silenced in the health care community. These questions include "How should Clinicians who believe that VSED is morally impermissible respond to patients ' requests for VSED information and support? Should clinicals recmmend VSED as a humane end-of-life option?" (P. 1289). Unlike many other alternatives VSED or a loss of appetite often accompany the dying process. This makes VSED a more natural approach. Schwarz (2007) defines VSED as "decision is made by a decisionally capable patient who is physically capable of eating and drinking but consciously chooses to refuse further food and fluid with the intention of hastening his or her death" (P. 1291). Often this process takes one to three weeks. Lachman (2015) adds the base body of knowledge by comparing and contrasting VSED with PAS. Some of the fundamental differences are apparent but on of the biggest ones is the amount of time it takes. VSED can take 1-3 weeks where PAS takes minutes-hours (P. 57). Research by Ganzini, Goy, Miller, Harvath, Jackson & Delorit (2003) suggest that the majority of patients who chose VSED in hospice programs in Oregon were; older the 55 years of age (P. 359). The nurses who answered this questionnaire also rated the median score of 8 on quality of death (0= very bad death to 9= very good

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