Medical systems have progressed due to the development of technology and the improvement of medical skills, which has increased the quality of life for patients across the world. However, the development of life support machines has resulted in debates on when to terminate the life of a terminally ill patient. The following discussion delineates issues surrounding the end of life and various ethical principles that guide medical practices.
Various controversies surround the end-of-life decision for doctors, families, and patients. The first controversy is when to decide that a patient’s life can be terminated. Most people argue that families and doctors can decide to end the life of a patient. They argue that if a family is economically drained, then they can ask the doctors to terminate the life of the patient, while others argue that if the disease is incurable and the sick individual is in a vegetative state then the doctors can terminate the patient (Lippincott & Wilkins, 2007). It is important to note that the decision of whether to end a patient life is affected by factors such as the spiritual, moral, cultural, and values of the parties involved.
Bioethics guides the medical industry on the appropriate medical procedure by stating what is ethical and unethical in the medical fraternity. The primary goal of any doctor or nurse is to save lives hence; many people have argued that it is inappropriate for them to terminate patient life. America Medical Association (AMA) has developed policies on how to organize the health care system in the country. The futile care policy states that any health care provider is not obligated to provide health services for a patient who in his or her opinion, the medical treatment will not benefit the patient (Pipes, 2010).
Health Care in the United States
Every citizen is guaranteed medical attention by the American Constitution. Any nurse has an obligation to attend to anybody who seeks medical help despite his or her mental, gender, race, age, or marital status. A nurse ensures that the patient has the best care to enable a quick recovery. He or she also keeps records that doctors use during treatment (Masters, 2014). Nurses play a major role in ensuring that they have advised patients on the required diet and medication process. Patients became aware of what is required of them and the efforts they should make to improve their health. Nurses can also be viewed as teachers since they educate the patients on all matters regarding their health. Health care is a basic right in the US since no one is restricted to seek medical attention, and nurses can serve anyone in society. Health services are available for many individuals due to the improvement of the medical system due to Obamacare (Thomas & Lobo, 2011).
In conclusion, terminating the life of a patient is not an easy decision since there are many parties involved who must weigh their option before proceeding with their decision. The fundamental moral obligation of any health practitioner is to ensure that he or she protects and saves the life of every patient. However, health care providers are not ethically obligated to offer medical help in a situation where according to their judgment it will not be beneficial to the patient. Medical treatment in the United States is a basic right for every citizen that is protected by the Constitution and nurses’ code of conduct.
Lippincott Williams & Wilkins. (2007). End-of-life: A Nurse’s Guide to Compassionate Care. Philadelphia: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.
Masters, K. (2014). Role Development in Professional Nursing Practice. Burlington: Jones & Bartlett Learning.
Pipes, S. (2010). The Truth about Obamacare. Washington: Regnery Pub.
Thomas, K. & Lobo, B. (2011). Advance Care Planning in End of Life Care. Oxford: Oxford University Press.