Essay: Voluntary or Assisted Euthanasia

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Terri Schiavo case was a very sad story. It was also a story with a huge amount of implications and subject matter topics including euthanasia, nursing ethics, legal requirements, the final wishes of Terri and/or who controlled the same given there was an absence of them being documented and so forth. This report will briefly summarize the case in question, will describe the legal and ethical implications from a nursing and legal standpoint, will describe the stakeholders involved, will describe the impact on social values/norms and so forth and how a general ethical theory or principle might be applied to this subject. While the Terri Schiavo situation was extremely unfortunate, the facts were what they were and a lot of the legal wrangling could have been easily prevented with a little forethought.

Analysis

One striking thing about the Terri Schiavo case is that it actually stretched on for quite a long time. In this case, "a long time" means a decade and a half. Indeed, Terri Schiavo was at her home in 1990 when she collapsed due to experiencing full cardiac arrest. Despite attempts to save her and restore her to health, she came to exist in a "persistent vegetative state" and there was deemed to be no way that she would recover. Given that, Terri's husband and guardian, a man by the name of Michael Schiavo, made the decision to remove life support and that meant removing Terri's feeding tube. This was a particularly vexing and hard decision to make given the fact that Terri was quite often conscious and at least somewhat aware. However, the issue was that her brain was ostensibly damaged beyond repair and she had no awareness, according to doctors, that approached that of a healthy human being. The parents strongly opposed the removal of the feeding tube. However, the removal of the tube was eventually ordered by a judge and it occurred on March 18th, 2005. Terri died a tad less than two weeks later on March 31st, 2005 (CNN, 2015).

When it comes to the obligations or a nurse, there is a bit of a duality that exists. First, the general duty of a nurse is to prolong and sustain life. At the same time, there is the legal question of things like advanced directives, what the "patient would have wanted" and the people who might or must make decisions due to the absence of advanced directives, living wills and so forth. The latter was certainly the case with Schiavo. The nurses and doctors may have felt an ethical or legal fear due to what was going on but they did indeed ultimately have the order of a judge to legally back up what was decided. In terms of other laws, the nurses and doctors would not and could not make such a choice but they are allowed to honor what the guardian or what the law requires, depending on the situation. The stakeholders in the situation were obviously Terri's husband Michael, Terri's parents, the family and friends of both and so forth. However, one could argue that the stakeholders also included the public (who was very in tune to what was happening even if they were very divided about the topic), the legal/medical community… [END OF PREVIEW]

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Voluntary or Assisted Euthanasia.  (2015, June 9).  Retrieved December 11, 2019, from https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/voluntary-assisted-euthanasia/3658234

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"Voluntary or Assisted Euthanasia."  9 June 2015.  Web.  11 December 2019. <https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/voluntary-assisted-euthanasia/3658234>.

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"Voluntary or Assisted Euthanasia."  Essaytown.com.  June 9, 2015.  Accessed December 11, 2019.
https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/voluntary-assisted-euthanasia/3658234.