This Essay Is Going to Look at Euthanasia

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This essay is going to look at euthanasia. This will include an analysis of the theories and principles which guide healthcare practice and decision making, a discussion of the relevant codes of professional practice and the legislation that may guide practice and decision making. This essay will also include an evaluation of the effects of the ethical issue for the individual concerned, their family, health care workers and for wider society.
Ethics are the principles on individual uses, in order to make decisions in life and when applying the values of a given profession. The value base informs the decision making process for the individual, but ethical principles also have to be used. There are different schools of thought regarding the function of professional ethics. Each school of thought will tackle situations in different ways.
Utilitarianism, or consequentialism, was developed by Jeremy Bentham (1748-1832) and John Stuart Mill (1806-1873). A utilitarian will believe that a morally right act has to bring about the greatest happiness for the greatest number of people. Utilitarians equate happiness with good, so a morally right act is one which creates the greatest good for the greatest number of people. Utilitarian philosophy holds that all knowledge comes from experience. It can be seen that utilitarian philosophy, like most ethics, involves making personal judgements, rather than following strict rules in a given situation.

Ethical systems of thought always encounter problems. It is difficult sometimes to define what is good. How can you guarantee that all possible consequences have been considered prior to action being taken? The concept of the greatest good for the greatest number of people is not straightforward. The idea of creating the greatest happiness for the greatest number of people has to be used as a principle to guide the construction of codes of professional conduct, or for designing laws and systems of social regulation.



References: Tschudin, V. (2003) Ethics in Nursing: The Caring Relationship (p 141) (3rd Edition) Butterworth-Heinemann, London as cited in Hendrick, J (2004) Foundations in Nursing and Health Care: Law and Ethics UK, Nelson Thornes Mason, J Tschudin, V. (2003) Ethics in Nursing: The Caring Relationship (p 136) (3rd Edition) Butterworth-Heinemann, London as cited in Hendrick, J (2004) Foundations in Nursing and Health Care: Law and Ethics UK, Nelson Thornes Kennedy, I Mason, J. McCall Smith, R.A. and Laurie, G.T. (2002) Law and Medical Ethics (p548) (6th Edition) Buttersworth, London as cited in Hendrick, J (2004) Foundations in Nursing and Health Care: Law and Ethics UK, Nelson Thornes Singer, P Stauch, M. Wheat, K. and Tingle, J. (2002) Sourcebook on Medical Law (2nd Edition) Cavendish, London as cited in Hendrick, J (2004) Foundations in Nursing and Health Care: Law and Ethics UK, Nelson Thornes Cassell, E.J Montgomery, J. (2003) Health Care Law (p 474) Oxford University Press, Oxford as cited in as cited in Hendrick, J (2004) Foundations in Nursing and Health Care: Law and Ethics Nelson Thornes, UK Mason, J

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