This is an analysis of an article titled “Case twenty-three: A fevered hand on cooling brow - the nurse's role in aid-in-dying” authored by Connolly, Keller, Leever and White (2009) in their book, Ethics in action: a case-based approach (312-317)
The authors’ evaluation of the role of a nurse in aid-in-dying (AID) puts a major question in applying the utilitarianism in policies making process in the health sector and respect for individual choices on health matters throughout the article. Bentham position has been put in practice right from the first paragraph of the case up to the last one where authors’ conclude their work with a question for the reader to decide. The article is clear on the aspect of relieving pain by euthanasia for terminally ill patients. The nurse is supposed to decide whether to participate in AID or not in order to promote the wellbeing of the patient, which might include euthanasia. The actions are more important that the nursing profession when it comes to life of a patient.
Issues of nurse exclusion in the debate about the role of AID among the patients willing to take that route received a wider coverage in the article. The article gives a background of the case in which physicians in Oregon engaged the courts to determine the legitimacy of physicians’ capacity to prescribe medications to help with suicide. Though the physicians won the case in court, it has remained illegal in many places worldwide due to moral implications it has on health care system and the community.
The article goes ahead to indicate that euthanasia is gaining acceptance on a yearly basis. This compounds the work of a nurse, who spends their time taking care of the patient. It is, therefore, important to involve the nurse in the formulation of regulations or rules that require implementation by a nurse owing to the proximity to the patient amidst huge expectation from the community on preventing death and suffering of patients.
Bentham viewed the utility as a way of increasing the amount of pleasure in the world for all humans, which authors of this article explore in the case. The utilitarian theory would require a response that generates the maximum benefit on completion of the activity, in this case, a nurse aiding suicide of a terminally ill patient. There are moral issues that compromise is a guarantee as shown in the article. According to the authors, ethical issues create a conflict when it comes to practical application of AID by a nurse. They include doing no harm, trust accorded by community, professional integrity, and chances of abuse or over-exploitation.
The utilitarianism response to the four issues is adequately covered and effectively as executed covered in the article with slight improvement. A patient’s closed person when in pain is usually a nurse. The nurse and not a physician or community gives the patient hope of coping with pain, and therefore, the patient has the right to request the nurse to assist in everything including AID if that is what the patient needs.
In conclusion, the article has supported its claim effectively by giving clarifications particularly on the moral issues focusing on overall benefit actions taken by nurses. For example, the issue of abuse of AID because of a mistake is taken care of where the authors explain that the intimate interaction between patient and nurse compels them to protect the interest of patients. The involvement of nurses is paramount in safeguarding the rights and wishes vulnerable populations. The position of a nurse in aid-in-dying should be neutral to accommodate the uniqueness of both the knowledgeable patients and those at-risk, as the article does not recommend a clear stance on this issue. To avoid bias in their argument, the authors pose a question to the reader in order to evaluate the benefit of nurse involvement in AID.
Peggy, Connolly, Keller David R., Martin G. Leever, Becky Cox White. Case twenty-three: A fevered hand on cooling brow - the nurse's role in aid-in-dying. Ethics in action: a case-based approach. Oxford: John Wiley & Sons, 2009. Print.