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Active Euthanasia With Parental Consent
This case provides an example of a situation in which active euthanasia was conducted with the consent of parents. There are three agents in this case among these three; the most important is the patient. The patient was a small girl named Andrea and her age was only nineteen years. Apart from her, the other two important agents in the case were the parents of Andrea and the physicians. The main fact of the case was the severe illness of the girl and the reaction of her parents at this disease. It was mentioned in the case that Andrea was severely suffering from cystic fibrosis when she was only thirteen months old, this disease is progressive. Not only is this but patients suffering from this disease has an average life span of thirty years.
Due to this dangerous disease, Andrea was admitted in the hospital several times but unfortunately, no positive results came out. Several medications were given to the girl and in the end; the physicians gave her the experimented antibiotics as a last resort. In spite of getting better, Andrea became severely ill and when this was discussed with her parents, her parents agreed on the No Code order. This is the main point of the entire case, which changed the whole story.
It is a fact that death is inevitable but giving death with the will full consent of someone is not reasonable at all (Dworkin, Frey, & Bok, 1998). Everyone in this world, the healthy or sick, rich or poor, king or slave, has the complete right to live (Hamel, 1991). In this case, the patient (Andrea) did not even know about this situation because the discussion between the physician and the parents was not conducted in front of her. However, Andrea was severely ill, but like every other person, she also has the right to live. This fact is also true that the treatment was not proving to be effective but stopping the treatment (which resulted in her death) was an unethical act done with Andrea. This is the most prominent moral issue of the case. Not only is this, but the act of the physician is another important moral issue raised in the case. The physician has no right to kill Andrea. Apart from this, being a doctor, it was the prime responsibility of her physician to continue her treatment and not to lost hope. Nevertheless, the conditions that happened with Andrea were opposite. The act of active euthanasia was extremely immoral and this act is considered as illegal in number of countries around the globe (McCarrick, 1992). According to some researchers, when a doctor stops treating a patient, it is not his fault in case if the patient dies (Morgan, 1996). However, by doing so he is allowing the death to come and this death has to come one day or another. Some of the theories suggest that by using the word of killing for such act of a doctor is not at all appropriate. It is because of the fact that killing is only referred to such an act where the other person is directly put to death (Scherer & Simon, 1999). In this case, of a doctor, the doctor does not directly kill the girl, but the treatment was stopped which resulted in the death of Andrea. On the other hand, some researchers have regarded this act of doctors as immoral and said that the doctors should continue treating the patients until the last moment (Steinbock & Norcross, 1994).
After analyzing this case with the current moral theories, an important point clicks the mind, it is that if the word killing should not be associated with the doctors act of stopping the patients treatment, as it was done in this case, then what about the concept that God decides the time and date of death (Hamel, 1991). From one aspect, this point clearly indicates that the act of doctor should be regarded as intentional killing of Andrea and this is surely immoral.
As far as the other aspect is concerned, it is essential to look at the reason of letting Andrea to die. Doctors do conduct this act because they do not want their patients to suffer from pain. It is the case of Andrea, when doctors became completely hopeless after treating the small girl from every aspect only then they did this act, otherwise, their prime goal was to save the little girl from that dangerous disease.
The more immoral act was done from the side of her parents in comparison to the doctor. It is because of the fact that they took the final decision of conducting the illegal act (active euthanasia). Parents are the one who love their child more than any other person, but the question arises that why the parents did gave approval of active euthanasia? As it was mentioned in the case that the parents became sad at the time of death of her daughter (Andrea), it clearly reveals that the case of parents was similar to that of the doctor. Parents also did not want her to suffer from more pain and thus took this decision. The act which let Andrea to die was of active Euthanasia, in contrary to this act is passive euthanasia. In passive Euthanasia, a person dies himself due to the severity of the disease rather than giving him an injection. Since active euthanasia merely means to stop the pain, which may result in death after some days, therefore giving an injection to the patient seems reasonable in this case (Morgan, 1996). It is because of the reason that the treatment is stopped mainly to stop the pain and if no injection will be given, the pain will continue, thus, there will be no use of stopping the patient. In this way, patient will suffer even more because neither the injection will be given to stop the pain nor the treatment will be continued (Steinbock & Norcross, 1994).
There are two agents in this case doctors who were looking after Andrea and her parents. The moral responsibility of her parents was to comfort their daughter and to take all the steps necessary to make their daughter feel comfortable. On the other hand, doctors were supposed to comfort Andrea's parents. Even though they have ran out of options one must never loose hope doctors should have comforted parents and they should have been optimistic and not allowed her parents to loose hope.
Parents, be it mother or father none would want their children to die especially even after knowing that they will and still doing nothing about it. Andrea's parents had lost all hope and they could no longer see their daughter suffer so much pain. Doctors also had tried everything, they too were out of options, and so they suggested Andrea's parents one of the way to ease their daughter of the suffering she has been going through. Emotions plus situation forced their parents to come to the point where they had no other option and they could no longer see their daughter in pain. Eventually this step was taken and the parents after whom no treatment was to be given in case of emergency signed no code. With no treatment eventually, the Andreas condition worsened and after 48 hours, she passed away. Her mother and father watched her die and still could do nothing about it but they were satisfied about one thing that their daughter can finally rest in peace.
In my opinion, everyone has the right to live and one must never loose hope because once this happens, opportunities that might change their daughter's condition could not be thought of or picked if it comes our way. Doctors have huge…[continue]
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