Removal of Life Support
Withholding or withdrawing life-prolonging treatment is considered “letting die”. The disease process causes the client to die a natural death. (Perry & Potter, 2010). Theoretical, emotional, and ethical confusion often accompanies ethical decision-making in these circumstances and beclouds the hearts and minds of decision makers. (Rev. O' Rourke, 2005)
Family members or legal proxies may be called upon to make a decision of this nature for patients who are unable to speak for themselves. In these circumstances one may decide that prolonging life is not the best investment of energy, time, or money that can be made in the time remaining. Pros
If further therapies to prolong life "do not offer a reasonable hope of benefit or entail an excessive burden", they may be refused by the family. (Rev. O' Rourke, 2005). The intention intrinsic in an act of this nature does not constitute suicide or euthanasia. Rather, it is an act whose moral object may be accurately described as "allowing to die for legitimate reasons." When a person chooses to have life support withheld or removed, or when a proxy makes the decision, the decision maker is not making a choice in favor of death. Rather, an indirect choice is made about when the patient will die, "taking into account the state of the sick person and his or her physical and moral resources." (Somerville, 2010). The reality is, we all die. Science might change that someday, but of all the people who were born 150 years ago none of them are still with us today. We take a position that we should apply wisdom to the dying process and allow the dying to have a full range of choices. Nowadays advances in medicine allow doctors to prolong and sustain life although the person will not recover from a persistent vegetative state. Extending life when death is imminent is only extending the suffering and prolonging of the dying process. The removal of life support is supported by the ethical principles of...
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