Case Study: Patient Refusal Vs Request

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Patient Refusal Versus Request As stated earlier, it is unethical to prolong a life when the patient is terminal and not receiving necessary treatment. However, society is not the only factor considered when it comes to treatment. A patient has the legal right to refuse treatment. According to Health Care Ethics, practical wisdom is used to determine that a patient can ethically refuse treatment. The Quill v. Vacco court case further indicated that PAS should be allowed for terminal patients. This court case states that it is unjust to allow patient to refuse of life-sustaining treatment but not allow the patient to request of life-ending medication (Baillie et al., 2013). I believe that if it is permissible for a physician to allow a patient …show more content…
To prevent uncontrolled expansion and abuse of PAS, physicians should by law be required to perform comprehensive screenings and have set informed consent processes in place (Boudreau et al., 2013). Guidelines like those established in the Netherlands should also be used to determine whether the patient qualifies for PAS. First, the patient should be diagnosed with an incurable condition that results in severe pain or suffering. The patient must understand fully the depths of their condition, and know the types of palliative or hospice care available to them. Secondly, the patient’s physician must certify that the cause of their suffering is not due to underutilized palliative or hospice care. Third, the patient must very clearly submit multiple requests to die without influence from others. Fourth, the physician should make sure that the patient’s judgement is not compromised due to psychological conditions such as depression that might make they more likely to want to die. Fifth, the assisted suicide must be held to a professional stand of relationship; this means no personal involvement between the physician and patient shall be allowed. Lastly, another physician with knowledge and experience in PAS should be consulted and agree that the patient qualifies for PAS (Thomasma, …show more content…
Other possible ethical issues that remain after guidelines have been places should also be addressed. For instance, what should be done about people who are not competent to request death but still experience suffering? These cases are seen in infants, people with developmental disabilities, and even the elderly who suffer from Alzheimer’s disease (Steinbock, 2005). Another group of individuals that should be considered for PAS are people who cannot physically administer the medication themselves because of their disease. These cases are seen in patients with Lou Gehrig’s disease, where the loss of all motor function is inevitable. The medical field has come a long way in regards terminally ill patients and PAS, but there are other groups of individuals within our society who still need to be taken into consideration (Jaret,

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