Euthanasia And Assisted Suicide Research Papers Examples

Type of paper: Research Paper

Topic: Medicine, Nursing, Euthanasia, Medical Community, Community, Suicide, Assisted Suicide, Issue

Pages: 2

Words: 550

Published: 2020/12/07

Euthanasia is an important issue in the medical community today, and one that has always sparked interest in many people. It is the intersection of two fundamental human desires: the desire for autonomy over one’s body, and the desire for one’s loved ones to continue living for as long as possible. Both of the articles that were read on this topic suggest that there is a balance that must be struck between an individual’s bodily autonomy and the medical community’s involvement in the decision-making process. Over the years, the general philosophy on euthanasia or doctor-assisted suicide has certainly changed, and those changes are reflected in the policies that have been instituted in recent years.
Initially, the medical community was very paternal in the sense that doctors were considered the final word on all things medical (Dowbiggin, 2012). Doctors were expected to know what patients wanted better than patients; for this reason, the idea of assisted suicide—even the idea of a “do not resuscitate” order—was almost unheard of until the 1980s in the United States (Dowbiggin, 2012). It was not until the medical community began to consider patients as capable of advocating for their own care that the issue of assisted suicide became a controversial issue in the United States and elsewhere in the world.
Doctors and nurses have to be careful when dealing with the issue of euthanasia and assisted suicide, because currently, euthanasia is not allowed in most places in the United States (Dowbiggin, 2012). The medical community generally allows an individual or someone who has power of attorney to stop any medical interventions that may save someone’s life, but a doctor cannot currently help a person commit suicide in any active way (Dowbiggin, 2012). The Dowbiggin (2012) article discusses how the rules regarding medical interventions and power of attorney has changed over the years, focusing particularly on how the rules for medical professionals have changed. Indeed, more medical professionals than ever are willing to remove lifesaving interventions like feeding tubes, because the medical community has shifted towards a belief that in some cases, the greatest good for the patient is not to extend that patient’s life (Dowbiggin, 2012). Gastmans et al. (2006), on the other hand, suggest that nurses have a large influence on the policies that have been enacted regarding euthanasia. Nurses have to be careful with their actions, because they are often not as highly-trained as doctors, but still have significant medical responsibilities to patients.
It seems that actual euthanasia—the type where the patient is allowed to actively overdose or kill him or herself—is still something that is too ethically difficult for doctors and nurses to be allowed. However, the removal of lifesaving interventions like feeding tubes and respirators by family members is something that has allowed many families to stop continuously grieving for their very sick or injured loved one. This type of euthanasia, sometimes termed passive euthanasia, has been an incredibly important development in the medical field, as it is something that has allowed families to grieve less and spend less time caring for loved ones who are beyond hope. This is what Dowbiggin (2012) notes in the Schiavo case, and it is the reason that the medical community has come to support passive euthanasia as viable insofar as medical ethics are concerned.


Dowbiggin, I. (2012). From Sander to Schiavo: Morality, Partisan Politics, and America’s Culture War over Euthanasia, 1950–2010. Journal Of Policy History, 25(01), 12-41. doi:10.1017/s0898030612000334
Gastmans, C., Lemiengre, J., & Casterle, B. (2006). Role of nurses in institutional ethics policies on euthanasia. J Adv Nurs, 54(1), 53-61. doi:10.1111/j.1365-2648.2006.03790.x

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"Euthanasia And Assisted Suicide Research Papers Examples," Free Essay Examples -, 07-Dec-2020. [Online]. Available: [Accessed: 15-Aug-2022].
Euthanasia And Assisted Suicide Research Papers Examples. Free Essay Examples - Published Dec 07, 2020. Accessed August 15, 2022.

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