Informed decision making is vital in the medical practice. One of the major factors that practitioners in this field must always put in mind and never overlook is the ethical component of every decision. They make. Observing moral principles in medical practices does not only enhance a practitioner’s level of professionalism, but also increases their patients’ trust in them.
Many researchers and authors in the field of medical ethics have written extensively on the importance of making weighted decisions. In her book, Clinical ethics and values: Issues and insights in a changing healthcare environment Diann B. Uustal, formulates a nine step model that if used leads practitioners to make highly ethical and informed decisions. The issue of assisted suicide or euthanasia has always encountered nurses and doctors and many have opted to ease the long time suffering of their patients suffering from terminal and painful illnesses often falling afoul with the law.
When a practitioner is approached by a patient and asked to help ease their suffering through assisting them in suicide, they should go weigh their actions through the Uustal model. First, they ought to identify the problem. In this case the problem would be committing murder which is in contravention to their professional training and oaths.
They should then identify the potential issues that are involved. These issues may include the effect of the death to the family of the patient. They should then review the ethical guidelines that are relevant in the situation and establish to what extent they will be contravening their ethics by their actions. They should then consider the legal implications as to whether by assisting in suicide; they will be breaking any laws of the land and the consequences of breaking such a law. After considering the legal implication, they should consult with their seniors and peers and consider their opinion.
In considering all factors they have weighed, they should consider the courses of action, in this case whether to assist the patient, not to assist them or advice them in a way that would lessen their agony, if such a way exists. They should then list the projected consequences of taking a particular course of action and weigh the pros and cons of each. Based on the findings, they would be in a position to decide what the best course of action is and take it. They should then monitor and asses the outcome of their actions and use it in future decisions when faced by similar dilemmas.
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