BIOMEDICAL ETHICS PAPER
BIOMEDICAL ETHICS PAPER
THIS IS A Persuasive essay
Research a biomedical case or issue and provide an ethical analysis of it. 6 pages long paper
Chosen case/ topic : Elizabeth Bouvia
– Right to die case of Elizabeth Bouvia
-Why it is ethically correct for her to have the right to die?
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-THIS IS A Persuasive essay
MAKE SURE THAT YOUR PAPER MEETS THE BELOW GRADING CRITERIA
Grading Criteria:1. Includes student name, instructor, class name, date.2. Strong and clear thesis statement (“I will argue…”). Thesis claim also appears in conclusion.3. 6 pg. of writing double spaced 12pt font Minimum (not 5.1 pages) not including works cited.4. Correct tone – not informal. All material presented is relevant to your thesis.5. Correct general format (intro, body [several parts], conclusion). Each paragraph of the body has a mini-thesis sentence. Each section of your body paragraphs should lend support to your thesis.6. No Fallacies7. At least two in-text citations of academic philosophy articles from outside the text of the course done correctly. These citations offer supporting evidence for your thesis.8. Includes a counter argument and rebuttal. Has an accurate and charitable possible objection and a well-argued rebuttal section.9. Must use one ethical principle or ethical theory to develop your argument. Shows you know how to apply abstract ethical concepts to concrete examples.10. Argument is clear and convincing (valid argument). All terms used are defined and clearly explained to the reader perhaps through example. (Not all grading criteria are weighted equally. As the list above progresses the criteria are weighted more heavily. For example: getting your name and date on the paper is not worth as much as completing the page requirement or having a convincing argument) BIOMEDICAL ETHICS PAPER
Biomedical Ethics Paper
Among other landmark cases that have been witnessed globally, the Elizabeth Bouvia case was one of the most captivating landmark cases, especially in the right to die movement. The case began in 1983 when Ms. Bouvia voluntarily entered into a Californian hospital having suicidal ideations. Immediately after being hospitalized, Ms. Bouvia made it clear of her intention to stop eating with the hope of dying by starvation (Richard, and Keck 884). She went ahead to request the hospital board and the medical practitioners to only assist her with hygienic care and pain medication until she died. Her point of argument was that she was no longer willing to live due to the fact that she was disabled and physically incapable of committing suicide by herself (Diane 6). Ms. Bouvia went on to argue that due to her disability, she had experienced a miscarriage, a failed marriage, rejection from employment, and inability of her father to accept her back after moving out of her husband’s house. After the hospital refused to grant Bouvia her death wishes, she launched several court cases that were not successful. However, in 1986, Bouvia was granted her wishes by the Supreme Court only for her to overturn her original death wish arguing that the side effects of morphine regimen that she had began made the starvation process unbearable (Dean and Deason-howell 257). Taken from another angle, the right to die is a basic human right that should not be contested by anybody. In fact, it is ethically in order to give an individual the right to die if they so wish. In this paper will argue for the reasons or advantages of the right to die and why such should be a topic of much debate.
The Right to Die: What does it entail?
In a nutshell, the right to die is a concept based on the belief that a person can end their lives if they so wish, or voluntary euthanasia in other words. The right to die is mainly a medically assisted type of death that can be performed or carried out at a person’s home or at the hospital (David 6). There are a lot of arguments that surround the debate on matters to do with the right to die. There are those who argue that the right to die is ethically and morally wrong while there are those who bring in religious arguments and opinions saying that God is the only person who can determine whether a person has the right to live or die (Hui-ping, et al 875). In fact, others have gone ahead to argue that nurses, doctors and other healthcare professionals have the mandate of ensuring that they improve the quality of life as opposed to terminating it (Layla and Piazza 89).
Cases that are ripe with issues relating to ethical dilemma have presented the society with some of the most difficult considerations. Certainly, in the case that involved Ms. Bouvia, her physical impairments and her complicated medical history tends to bring forth concern and empathy on grounds of the magnitude of her suffering (Layla and Piazza 90). A lot of people have argued from the legal perspective of the case but this case can be viewed from the ethical perspective in relation to matters such as the rights of individuals, the acts of conscience, and ultimately, the right of a person to die.
Why Everyone Needs to Have The Right To Die
Before proceeding, it is important to understand the difference between physician assisted death (the right to die) and euthanasia. For the longest time, the two have always been lumped together but it is important to note that there are striking differences between the two practices. Euthanasia refers to killing an individual with the intention of relieving him of pain. This process is mainly done through lethal injection, ingestion of medication, or passively done by refusing to eat and allowing oneself to pass away (Pragnesh, et al 20). On the other hand, the right to die or assisted death is when an individual goes ahead to provide somebody else with information and help or assistance in taking their own lives. On most occasions, these types of deaths are undertaken with the help of a healthcare professional or a doctor (Diane 6). To this end, everybody has got the right to die, and in the case that involved Ms. Bouvia, doctors and the whole medical fraternity should have allowed her to have her wishes long time ago.
From an ethical perspective, it would have been correct for Ms. Bouvia to have the right to die due to a number of reasons worth noting. Is it ethically right as a doctor, healthcare professionals or prosecutors to see a disabled person suffering too much physical pain when they can end it voluntarily with the help of others? Even though some people may argue against this is wrong, from an ethical perspective, it is correct to assist an individual end his or her own life as long as it is their own solid decision (Pragnesh, et al 22). Ms. Bouvia was born disabled. She could not function like her fellow colleagues with no physical disabilities at all. Despite her failed marriage, no employer was willing to take her in. Her marriage had also failed and both her father and career programs were not willing to accommodate her (Richard and Keck 887). In her defense, this was more than she could bear, and the asked for the right to die. On a closer examination, Ms. Bouvia was right. She was literally on the edge where she could not bear anymore suffering, and at this point, it is ethically correct to give her the right to die (Diane 6).
According to Hui-ping, et al, people are born with dignity, have the right to live with dignity, and also the right to die with dignity (875). There are some conditions that may be painful to bear that the capability of medical profession can assist in alleviating prolonged suffering. It is important to note that intractable terminal suffering is an aspect that robs the victims a significant part of their dignity (Hui-ping, et al 876). Again, Ms. Bouvia disability meant that she required help from those close to her. In the human life, there are private matters that the individual needs to take care of unless they are young or disabled. But to the disabled adults of sound mind, there are certain private bodily matters that make them as if they rob them of their dignity if they are assisted. Such would include taking a bath or using a toilet (Hui-ping, et al 879). Though not mentioned, there are high chances that Ms. Bouvia felt that she had lost her dignity and had the right to die. Ethically, it is not right to see a person losing his or her dignity when he or she can be voluntarily assisted to end the suffering (David 7). To this end too, it would have been correct to give Ms. Bouvia the right to die.
As mentioned earlier, it is the duty of medical professionals to ensure that they alleviate the pain of their patients. If there seems to be no hope, doctors have ethical and moral obligations to end the life a given patient (Dean and Deason-howell 253). Again, Ms. Bouvia was a disabled patient who could not function normally. She had painfully lost her pregnancy and facing the world alone due to rejection that she was subjected to –her father and husband being some of them- by a lot of people across the community that she was living in (Layla and Piazza 92). Ethically, Ms. Bouvia should have been assisted and allowed to end her life long time ago as opposed to prolonging her tribulations which appeared to be bearing no fruits at all.
In the field of medical law and medical ethics, patients are allowed to refuse any kind of treatment or food if this will ultimately lead to their death (Layla and Piazza 93). Layla and Piazza further asserts that patients have the right of determining the moment of their deaths if they are in one of the most unbearable situations. In law, the right to receive medical treatment is well documented even if the medical treatment offered or food is given to a patient to prolong his or her life (94). To this end, there is no reason as to why Ms. Bouvia had to wait for long before having her rights granted. The law should be independent of morality or any other reasoning, and denying Ms. Bouvia part of her rights is wrong. BIOMEDICAL ETHICS PAPER
Decisions that revolve around the right to die are personal and have to be left that way. In deontology (a branch of ethics), this theory would argue or provide that there is no ethical reason that is good enough to go against an individual’s civic and moral duty even if the act means allowing a person to suffer in pain, a move that ignores the right of a patient (Diane 6). In the case that involved Ms. Bouvia, there is no better argument that can be put across of denying her the right to die. After all, it is her life and the decision she took was made with a sound mind. There is no place where she had to face a psychiatrist to examine her mental condition. She was a person of sound mind who just wanted to end her suffering as quick as possible. From an ethical perspective therefore, it is not good to go against the moral and civic duties of a person. Ms. Elizabeth Bouvia was subjected to numerous court proceedings in addition to prolonged suffering until her wishes were granted though she later reversed her decision (Richard and Keck 903). Ethically, it would not have been wrong to deny her of the right to die way early.
In a recap, the truth can be equated to gambling or alcohol. Banning such practices will not bring them to their end. In fact, going ahead to ban certain practices and vices could lead to being abused dangerously. People have always committed suicide. There is an urgent need to allow assisted death or the right for a person to end his or her life in a safe and comfortable environment where families are given chances of saying their final goodbyes in a proper manner of their own choosing. The right to die should be a fundamental right. Medical law recognizes it. There is nothing to be proud of if people who can assist those who cannot just sit back and watch them suffer simply because they are disabled or terminally ill to do it by themselves. To healthcare professionals, among others, it is their ethical duty to alleviate the suffering of a patient especially if they are incapable of doing so, the medicine is not working, the patients voluntarily choose to do so, and the person making the decision is of sound mind. In a nutshell, the right to die should be a personal and a constitutional right that should not be subject to debate.
Blevins, Dean and Lucinda M. Deason-howell. “Legal Implications for Failure to Comply with Advance Directives: An Examination of the Incompetent Individual’s Right to Refuse Life-Sustaining Medical Treatment.” Behavioral Sciences & the Law, vol. 20, no. 3, May/Jun2002, pp. 253-269.
Chen, Hui-ping, et al. “Attitudes of Chinese Oncology Physicians toward Death with Dignity.” Journal of Palliative Medicine, vol. 19, no. 8, Aug. 2016, pp. 874-878.
Coueman, Diane. “Assisted Suicide and Disability.” Human Rights, vol. 27, no. 1, Winter2000, p. 6.
Kurt, Layla J. and Nick J. Piazza. “Ethical Guidelines for Counselors When Working with Clients with Terminal Illness Requesting Physician Aid in Dying.” Adultspan Journal, vol. 11, no. 2, Oct. 2012, pp. 89-96.
Orentlicher, David. “International Perspectives on Physician Assistance in Dying.” Hastings Center Report, vol. 46, no. 6, Nov/Dec2016, pp. 6-7.
Parmar, Pragnesh, et al. “Perceptions of Patients’ Towards Euthanasia – a Medico-Legal Perspective.” International Archives of Integrated Medicine, vol. 3, no. 5, May 2016, pp. 20-23.
Price, Richard S. and Thomas M. Keck. “Movement Litigation and Unilateral Disarmament: Abortion and the Right to Die.” Law & Social Inquiry, vol. 40, no. 4, Fall2015, pp. 880-907. BIOMEDICAL ETHICS PAPER
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