Essay about Physician Assisted Death With Dignity Law

820 Words Dec 17th, 2015 4 Pages
How does one determine when someone should die, when someone should heal, when someone should feel pain, or when someone should end their life? The topic of physician-assisted suicide or physician-assisted end of life is a very hot topic in this country. Only three states fully recognize this in a positive way and have laws now in place to allow physicians to help their patients end their life when they are facing a terminal illness. The first and groundbreaking state that introduced such a law is Oregon. The law is called, "Oregon 's Death with Dignity Law." It allows physicians to write prescriptions for patients for lethal medications which can only be taken orally by the patient who wishes to end his/her life. Brittany Maynard was an example of a person whom elected this treatment to end her life after receiving a terminal diagnosis from a brain tumor. As nurses, we must use the principles of ethics when taking care of our patients and advocating for them. These principles include: nonmaleficence, beneficence, fidelity, beneficent paternalism, autonomy and justice. The last two nursing ethics are those that can relate to the topic of physician-assisted suicide, autonomy and justice (1).

So what is autonomy? Why does is pertain to physician-assisted suicide? Autonomy means control over ones personal decisions. However, that doesn 't mean a patient has total control over all decisions but that a patient has the right to make choices based on rational means and…

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