Post 1. A Matter of Life and Death: The Arguments of the Hospital Staff
Providing decent healthcare services to terminally ill patients, who are unwilling to accept these services, is especially complicated for a medical organization in that the needs and the demands of such patients are often in a permanent conflict.
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While, according to the code of medical ethics, terminally ill patients require intensive treatment, such patients often show the willingness to terminate their suffering and part with life, which is quite understandable, yet legally and ethically inadmissible. To prove the inconsistency of the choice of euthanasia in the given case, the following arguments should be provided:
- Healthcare services are supposed to improve health, not facilitate death;
- Hospital staff is legally and ethically supposed to do everything possible to save the patient;
- It may be possible that Mrs. R. E. Fusal may not understand the consequences of her actions (Pozgar, 2011).
Although it is necessary to stress that Mrs. R. E. Fusal’s decision must be appreciated and that it goes without saying that she has the right to make a choice, it must be made clear that no misunderstanding has taken place. The cost of human life is far too high to take such ethically controversial steps in such a hasty manner.
Post 2. From the Point of View of the Patient: The Right to Die
While the doubts of the hospital staff concerning the choice that was made by Mrs. R. E. Fusal is rather legitimate, it still must be admitted that the patient has the right to decide how to manage his or her life, which is why it is necessary to accept the patient’s refusal to continue the treatment process.
The hospital staff applies to the principles of the Hippocratic Oath as the basis for their decision, yet the postulates of the given oath can be interpreted in benefit of Mrs. Fusal’s choice as well, seeing how the oath demands to strive for the patient’s greater good, which is not necessarily dragging out a miserable existence. Below are the key arguments in favor of refusal:
- The hospital staff does not have the right to make choices concerning the patient’s life as long as the latter is able to do so him- or herself – it is only the patient who has the right to make choices that his or her life depends on;
- The healthcare staff may be unaware of some of the risks associated with the treatment due to the unpredictability of the ways in which the patient may react to the treatment (Saks, 2010).
It must be admitted, though, that the key argument in the given case concerns the patient’s consent. The role of a healthcare professional is to define the best methods to address the problem, whereas the patient’s role is to either choose these methods or not.
Post 3. Picking a Legitimate Point to Support: Mrs. R. E. Fusal
As it has been stressed, the key problem in the given case can be related to the conflict between the responsibilities of a healthcare specialist and the point of view of a patient. Even though the problem of patient’s consent or refusal regarding the provided treatment is an extremely controversial issue, I would, probably, prefer the idea of a patient making a conscious decision on whether to choose the specified treatment or not.
In addition, apart from the issue of patient’s rights, the ethical concerns should be addressed. Seeing how blood transfusion is the issue in question, it can be assumed that religious issues might make Mrs. R. E. Fusal reject the surgery. Therefore, going against her will presupposes violating her religious beliefs, which is also a punishable offense. Eventually, it is crucial to realize that Mrs. R. E. Fusal is the only person who has the right to be in command of her own body.
Pozgar, G. (2011). Legal aspects of health care administration (11th ed.). Sudbury, MA: Jones & Bartlett Publishers.
Saks, E. R. (2010). Refusing care: forced treatment and the rights of the mentally ill. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press.