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End of Life: Ethical Issues

William is an 87-year old resident of a skilled facility in a small town. He is single and has only 1 living relative, a 35-year old nephew who is a strong supporter of an individual's right to die. William came to the NSF 4 months ago after a stroke which left him unable to talk and paralyzed on the right side. He has become unresponsive. He has a little appetite and denies hydration. His doctor has given him IV nutrition and hydration but it is quickly becoming difficult to find intact veins. He has never given any indication of his wishes, but his nephew insists that he does not want to live "like this" and "his time has come, and he should be let go." An NG tube was unsuccessful as he repeatedly removes it. The facility's policy is to follow the individual's wishes if they are known. The staff members caring for him insist that aside from the effects of the stroke, little is really wrong with him.

What is your analysis of the various ethical considerations involved in this situation? How should the competing ethical considerations be resolved? Argue both sides of the issue, basing your arguments on ethical theories and/or principles. CITE SOURCES!

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Hi and thank you for using Brainmass. The solution below should get you started. If you want to do further research on the topic, you can use the listed references. Good luck!

Sincerely,
OTA 105878/Xenia Jones
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The Situation:

"William is an 87-year old resident of a skilled facility in a small town. He is single and has only 1 living relative, a 35-year old nephew who is a strong supporter of an individual's right to die. William came to the NSF 4 months ago after a stroke which left him unable to talk and paralyzed on the right side. He has become unresponsive. He has a little appetite and denies hydration. His doctor has given him IV nutrition and hydration but it is quickly becoming difficult to find intact veins. He has never given any indication of his wishes, but his nephew insists that he does not want to live "like this" and "his time has come, and he should be let go." An NG tube was unsuccessful as he repeatedly removes it. The facility's policy is to follow the individual's wishes if they are known. The staff members caring for him insist that aside from the effects of the stroke, little is really wrong with him."

Opinion:

The ethical question at the heart of this dilemma is whether or not the octogenarian is really determined to 'end his life'. Is William communicating that he wants to die, that he wants to end his life and ...

Solution Summary

The solution is a 919-word analysis of an 'end of life issue' (see problem). It provides ethical discussions on the moral and ethical issues involved as well as looks into social and legal issues that are related to the problem. References are listed for expansion. A word version of the solution is attached for easy printing and digital use.

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