Euthanasia refers to a process during which a lethal agent is administered to a patient in order to relieve their incurable and intolerable suffering. Though the primary focus of euthanasia relies on ending pain and respecting the choices of a patient, there is still much discourse regarding its practice not only within healthcare but within many social circles. Wider societal responses may often be against euthanasia for cultural, religious, or personal reasons. Within healthcare, many even oppose its use based on its inability to be compatible with the physician’s role as a caretaker and healer (American Medical Association, n.d.). Those in healthcare that regard euthanasia as unacceptable turn to other medical functions such as remaining with a patient, offering them autonomy, communication, emotional support, comfort, and pain control. However, the opposing side argues that in the case that a patient requests euthanasia, their autonomy allows for it. This dilemma illustrates the complexity of the discourse regarding euthanasia and while it may often be the last resort, it cannot be denied to a patient in pain and with an incurable and lethal disease.
The application of euthanasia within a facility requires an ethically-informed policy. As such, it must be in accordance with the rights of the patient and the physicians involved. It must comply with legal notions for euthanasia, such as it only being discussed in the case that a patient faces an incurable and lethal disease that causes pain and distress that cannot be tolerated. Similarly, physicians and nursing staff must be well-prepared and informed regarding the process of euthanasia as negative mental effects can occur (Pesut et al., 2019). The patient should have received adequate counseling and psychological intervention to facilitate the validity of their requirement. Therefore, an administrator should work to reduce the rate of euthanasia administration but cannot deny patients the right to it.
American Medical Association. (n.d.). Euthanasia. American Medical Association. Web.
Pesut, B., Thorne, S., Greig, M., Fulton, A., Janke, R., & Vis-Dunbar, M. (2019). Ethical, policy, and practice implications of nurses’ experiences with assisted death. Advances in Nursing Science, 42(3). Web.