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A question of Euthanasia

"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."

Is will's request to reprogram the morphine machine justified by an ethical right to decide the course of his death?

what are the ethical implications of will's request that his physicians reprogram his morphine machine?

consider your answers in the first discussion question

would it make a difference if will was on life support?

would it make a difference if will was not terminally ill?

Solution Preview

Dear Student,
Hello and welcome to Brainmass. Let us examine the problem - ethically speaking, William has every right to decide for it is his own life and this is his freedom of choice. The right to life of individuals is balanced out by their choice to die if circumstances are justified. Will has a terminal illness. The reprogramming of the morphine machine is his choice for in so doing he not only exercised the right to expire in his own terms, he also did so with the principles of Utilitarianism in mind, his actions maximised his happiness and minimised his suffering. The ethical question at the heart of this dilemma is whether or not the ...

Solution Summary

The solution is a concise discussion of a particular problem (see above) that presents a dilemma on the topic of euthanasia and mercy killing as in the case of Will. The questions listed are tackled in the solution.