Euthanasia: To Kill or Not to Kill – Medical Ethics Example

Download free paperFile format: .doc, available for editing

"Euthanasia: To Kill or Not to Kill? " is an excellent example of a paper on medical ethics. Euthanasia had been part of many debates throughout the years. People either agree or disagree with euthanasia as a form of mercy. The definition of euthanasia must be laid down through the paper before going to the arguments of both sides whether it is a good or bad practice. A simple definition of euthanasia is the practice of permitting the death of hopelessly sick individuals. If the patient does not have any hopes of recovering from the state of illness and experiences severe pain without enjoying a normal life, euthanasia comes into consideration (Cavan and Dolan, 2000).

Other people call it mercy-killing but it is subjected to heated-debate whether the practice is really a form of mercy or a form of murder. In the practice of medical professions like nursing, ethics guide the practice being observed by the medical professionals. Ethics considers the morals in actions. Both ethics and morals pertain to whether the action is right or wrong. When used formally, a distinction can be identified between the two concepts.

Morals or morality as other people call it is the standard being followed by people to judge whether the action is right or wrong. On the other hand, ethics is the science of morals or study of morality (Thompson, Melia, and Boyd, 2000). A good example of an ethical issue in nursing and medical practice is euthanasia just like in the case of Mrs. Terri Schiavo. After seven years of law petition by her husband Michael Schiavo, finally last March 18, 2005, her feeding tube was removed.

Mr. Schindler got into a conflict with the Schindlers or the parents of Mrs. Schiavo in whether euthanasia is the option for her health status. Mrs. Schiavo had been in a vegetative state since 1990 after her collapse. The doctors said that her brain suffered serious damage and her recovery to normal would be next to impossible. The Schindlers still believed that she could recover from her vegetative state. The point of Mr. Schiavo is to give his wife calm, peaceful, and gentle death according to his lawyer Mr.

Felos. The incident was a very big issue since Mrs. Schiavo was not able to give any testament on what to do with her when she became paralyzed before she was in a vegetative state (BBC News, 2005). The case of Mrs. Schiavo can be linked to the Nursing Code of Ethics. It may violate ethics or not because the issue of euthanasia draws a thin line to whether it is ethical or not. According to the American Nurses Association in providing one of the Nursing Code of Ethics states the following: The nurse, in all professional relationships, practices with compassion and respect for the inherent dignity, worth, and uniqueness of every individual, unrestricted by considerations of social or economic status, personal attributes, or the nature of health problems (p.

1). The case of euthanasia is a hard one. What euthanasia offers is to help the person concerned to have a peaceful and calm death rather than a slow and agonizing death that may last for years. According to Fletcher, people must be concerned more with human dignity and integrity rather than focusing on the biological function.

Human beings are rational beings that can think logically and feel emotions. The argument is to give way to a code of ethics relating to the quality of life not just the sanctity of life provided by the traditional ethics (Rumbold, 1999).


American Nurses Association. (2010, November 15). Code of ethics for nurses with interpretative statements. Nursing World. Retrieved from:

Cavan, S. and Dolan, S. (2000). Euthanasia: The debate over the right to die. New York: Rosen Publishing Group.

n.a. (2005, March 31). Brain-damaged Terri Schiavo dies. BBC News. Retrieved from:

Rumbold, G. (1999). Ethics in nursing practice. 3rd ed. USA: Elsevier Ltd.

Thompson, I., Melia, K. and Boyd, K. (2000). Nursing ethics. London: Elsevier Ltd.

Download free paperFile format: .doc, available for editing
Contact Us