End-Of-Life Cases: An Analysis Of Moral Obligation

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Once it is determined that a client is at risk for serious harm to himself or herself, the professional is ethically and legally required to take appropriate actions aimed at protecting the person. The laws of Cyprus as well as the Cyprus Psychologists’ Association (CYPSA) and the Pancyprian Psychological Society (PASYPSY) clearly state that when a client is suicidal, confidentiality has to be bridged in order to prevent harm from happening. However, the case of Melissa appears to be different and represents a moral dilemma. Whilst having in mind Melissa’s terminal illness, it is up to the psychologist to decide whether or not confidentiality should be bridged. Nevertheless there is no clear-cut set of instructions for how a psychologist should proceed with a client who is…show more content…
Nonmaleficence refers to the psychologist’s duty to avoid conflicting any harm while beneficence extends beyond doing no harm and requires psychologist to provide a benefit to the client. These concepts raise particularly difficult issues when confronted with end-of-life situations. The duty to protect is clear when an otherwise healthy patient is suicidal. In end-of-life situations, however, what specifically comprises welfare and danger? In Melissa’s end-of-life situation, where medical intervention available can only maintain a life filled with pain, suffering and distress prolonging her life by disclosing her suicidality does not necessarily meet the standard of beneficence and does not honor the patients wish to die; violating the standard of nonmaleficence. Beneficence is the moral duty to promote good and is fundamental to dilemmas concerning bridging confidentiality. One may consider that allowing Melissa to hasten her own death in order to respect her wish to die with dignity, is promoting good. Therefore survival is not necessarily the upmost good in situations with terminal ill
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