The Pros And Cons Of Involuntary Euthanasia

1441 Words 6 Pages
At end-of-life, there are many important decisions to be made about treatment and medical interventions. While most of these decisions are extremely difficult to make, it is also important to understand whether the final decision was ethically justified or not. In the case of Mrs. S., her doctor’s decision and intentions must be reviewed in order to determine if he made an ethically justified decision with her care. Yet before it can be determined whether or not Dr. K. was ethically justified it must be determined if he performed involuntary euthanasia. For the purpose of determining if Dr. K.’s actions can be considered involuntary euthanasia, it is essential to define this term. Euthanasia is defined as “an act or omission which of itself …show more content…
K. performed involuntary euthanasia, it is important to consider the difference between killing the patient and allowing a patient to die. Killing is an act where a new lethal pathology is introduced with the intention of causing death (Sulmasy, 1998, p. 57). Yet allowing the patient to die is an action of removing or refraining from an intervention that may forestall or ameliorate a pre-existing condition. With allowing to the patient die the intention may not always be death (Sulmasy, 1998, p. 57-58). While the intention may be death in both killing and allowing the patient to die, the main difference is if the patient dies due to a new or a pre-existing condition. Using these definitions it is clear that euthanasia would be considered an act of killing rather than allowing to the patient to …show more content…
K. performed involuntary euthanasia, this is not the case. He did perform involuntary care since he did not get proper consent for his treatment, but his actions did not cause Mrs. S. to die from euthanasia. As noted in the case study, the reason for introducing the feeding tube was to improve Mrs. S.’s nutritional status, therefore when Dr. K. feed her insufficiently through the feeding tube he was not introducing a new lethal condition; instead, she died from a pre-existing condition. Since tube feeding requires great effort and extraordinary means, it is considered extraordinary treatment, which can be refused and is considered allowing the patient to die. Since Dr. K.’s actions are considered allowing his patient to die he did not perform euthanasia on Mrs. S. Therefore Dr. K.’s treatment of Mrs. S., although it was involuntary, it was not involuntary

Related Documents