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Death with Dignity

Death with Dignity

Does Zachary meet the requirements to take part in this practice? Why? Be detailed and specific in your evaluation of this practice.

According to Oregon’s Death with Dignity Act, Zachary Davis is eligible. The act requires that the patient be 18 years and above, an Oregon resident, capable of making decisions, and have a terminal illness diagnosis. Furthermore, this diagnosis should state that the patient has at least six months before their demise. They should also be able to ingest any medication without assistance (Death with Dignity, 2021). Zachary is 35 years old and is a legal resident of Portland. He has lived in Oregon for 20 years. Zachary has been diagnosed with glioblastoma multiforme brain cancer, which is among the deadliest conditions because patients have a low rate of survival. Zachary is in the condition’s late stages, which makes treatment futile.

In addition, Zachary lacks any history that could cite mental incapability to make decisions regarding his health. Most importantly, Zachary has already begun aggressive treatment. The 12-week treatment has been futile due to a lack of significant improvement. Therefore, the doctor’s prognosis states that Zachary could have six months to live. More than one doctor who has been treating Zachary confirmed this timeline. Most importantly, Zachary is still physically able to ingest medication without any assistance. Therefore, Zachary is qualified to participate in the Physician Aid in Dying. Hire our assignment writing services in case your assignment is devastating you.

Considering Death With Dignity legislation, is mental health a component that is evaluated and considered? Do you support this aspect of the legislation?

The Death with Dignity Act requires that at least two physicians who are licensed to practice evaluate the patient’s mental health. Any concerns raised by any of the physicians should lead to further evaluation by a licensed state psychologist or psychiatrist. Patients may experience depression due to the illness (Orentlicher et al., 2016). This state of mind can lead to impaired judgment. Other patients may have suffered from mental conditions in the past. Such history can lead to the need for further evaluation to ascertain the patient’s mental capability to make such a decision.

This requirement is critical because it protects patients from coercion and abuse of the act. Patients cannot receive the required prescription until the psychiatrist’s or psychologist’s report is provided. I support this element of the legislation due to various reasons. First, patients such as Zachary may suffer undue depression and stress due to the sudden diagnosis. The idea that life could come to such an abrupt end can cause a patient to make the decision in an unstable mental state. Secondly, other individuals could coerce patients to make such a decision on malicious grounds. Such malice could be driven by the desire to possess the wealth of the patient. Thus, it is necessary to ensure that the patient is making such a decision willingly. Failure to include the component could open up a gap for coerced end-of-life decisions or uninformed personal choices to end pain and emotional stress.

As we near end of life it is often that a surrogate is put in place for our medical decisions. How does this work with the practice of Physician Aid­ in-dying?

When patients are unable to make decisions related to end of life, surrogates are usually appointed for this purpose. The surrogates usually communicate the patient’s known wishes. In case their wishes are not known, the decisions are made in the patient’s best interests (American Academy of Hospice and Palliative Medicine, 2016). However, Physician Assisted Dying operates differently. Exceptions are not made for patients who do not meet the stated requirements. Physician-assisted dying requires the patient to be mentally capable of making such a decision. The procedure does not allow patients to delegate the decision-making process to appointed surrogates. The request must be made orally, twice, by the patient. An advance directive, living will, or other documents related to end-of-life care cannot be used to make the request (American Academy of Hospice and Palliative Medicine, 2016).

This rule is important due to the ethical aspects that surround the Physician-Assisted Dying process. First, the patient is expected to self-administer the medication. The process of self-administration eliminates any chances of coercion that may arise from different quarters. It also allows the patient to make the decision with full knowledge of the consequences. When the patient successfully self-administers the medication, the decision is implemented according to the patient’s will.

Secondly, requests that come from other quarters, such as family, maybe instigated by ill motivations. This implies that the patient has the sole responsibility to make their healthcare decisions. This protects the patient from any coercion that could easily arise from the family unit. Appointed surrogates could also make medical decisions that portray the best interests of the patients and not their actual desires. A patient may be willing to live their life until natural death occurs instead of requesting a physician to end it. However, family members may believe that a patient is suffering unnecessarily and thus end up making such a decision.

Thirdly, the elimination of surrogate decision-making allows a patient who wants to continue living to explore various treatments that could improve their condition (American Academy of Hospice and Palliative Medicine, 2016). This opportunity to explore a variety of interventions can only be exploited if the patient has not made such a decision or empowered anyone else to do so on their behalf. Therefore, I find the impossibility of using surrogates important and beneficial to patients who suffer from terminal conditions.

What do you anticipate seeing in the future with this controversial practice in health care?

In the future, I believe that the act’s requirements may undermine the ability to harness the benefits that are associated with the legislation. The patient’s ability to portray and express their wish regarding ending life is important in eliminating coercion and abuse. Patients must be capable of making decisions regarding their care. Patients should also be able to self-administer the medications (Death with Dignity, 2021). At the same time, the requirements limit patients who are found to be mentally ill or physically challenged. Patients who have a history of mental illnesses may be found incapable of making such decisions, especially in cases of sudden diagnosis of terminal illnesses. The existence of mental illnesses eliminates a patient’s freedom to choose their way of dying. As mentally able patients are offered the privilege to make this decision, those who are found with the slightest cases of mental conditions are declared incapable of making the decision. However, the mental diagnosis does not mean that a patient cannot make any decisions regarding their health. Instead, it denies such patients the freedom to make critical health decisions. The absence of surrogates further inhibits their decision-making process.

Secondly, the requirement to self-administer the drugs eliminates the disabled patients’ chance to make critical decisions regarding their care. Physical ability is critical for self-administration of drugs. An individual who relies on caregivers for feeding and other basic activities may be unable to take the drugs without assistance. This requirement limits the patients who can benefit from the act. Patients who feed through tubes are also limited due to their inability to self-administer the medication. Therefore, while other opponents argue that the act encourages the disabled, minorities, and uneducated to end their lives prematurely, I believe that its stringent requirements are double-edged swords that lock out certain populations.

References

American Academy of Hospice and Palliative Medicine. (2016). Statement on Physician-Assisted Dying. Retrieved from http://aahpm.org/positions/pad

Death with Dignity. (2021). Frequently Asked Questions. Retrieved from Death with Dignity: https://www.deathwithdignity.org/faqs/

Orentlicher, D., Pope, T. M., & Rich, B. A. (2016). Clinical Criteria for Physician Aid in Dying. Journal of Palliative Medicine, 19(3), 259-262.

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Question 


Death with Dignity

Physician Aid-in-Dying is a practice that is legal in a number of states within the United States due to the passing of the Death With Dignity Act. Additional reading is present on this legislation in the topic readings. Please make sure to research this topic prior to beginning this assignment, as you will need to apply this research to your paper.

Death with Dignity

Death with Dignity

Case Study: Physician Aid-in-Dying in Portland, Oregon

A 35-year-old male named Zachary Davis has lived in and been a legal resident of Portland for almost 20 years. In the fall of 2018 he began having terrible headaches. After months of suffering with these, Zachary made the decision to see his primary care provider. His provider decided that scans should be done to rule out anything serious before beginning treatment for what he thought was probably migraine headaches. Zachary had the routine scans and at 5:00 p.m. he received a call from his doctor with the results.

Zachary was diagnosed with advanced stage glioblastoma multiforme brain cancer, one of the deadliest brain tumors w ith a very low survival rate.

Zachary immediately began aggressive treatment. After 12 weeks of treatment, they saw no improvement in his condition. At that time, his doctors sat down with him to discuss options. He was given approximately 6 months to live, giving him the dreaded diagnosis of being terminally ill. They

discussed hospice care and other end-of-life options. After surveying the options, Zachary expressed the wish to participate in Physician Aid-In-Dying.

Considering all aspects of the Death With Dignity legislation that has been passed into law in Oregon, consider the following in a paper of 1,000-1,250 words:

  1. Does Zachary meet the requirements to take part in this practice? Why? Be detailed and specific in your evaluation of this practice.
  2. Considering Death With Dignity legislation, is mental health a component that is evaluated and considered? Do you support this aspect of the legislation?
  3. As we near end of life it is often that a surrogate is put in place for our medical How does this work with the practice of Physician Aid­ in-dying?
  4. What do you anticipate seeing in the future with this controversial practice in health care?

Prepare this assignment according to the APA guidelines found in the APA Style Guide, located in the Student Success Center. An abstract is not required.

This assignment uses a rubric. Please review the rubric prior to beginning the assignment to become familiar with the expectations for successful completion.

You are required to submit this assignment to LopesWrite. Refer to the LopesWrite Technical Support articles for assistance.

Attempt Start Date:05-Apr-2021 at 12:00:00 AM

Due Date: 11-Apr-2021 at 11:59:59 PM

Maximum Points: 100.0

  • § RUBRIC

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