Right to Die Ethical Case Analysis

2364 Words Aug 20th, 2012 10 Pages
UNITS 5 & 6

Case Study Analysis

Physician-Assisted Death

Rob Thibodeau
July, 2012

This assignment will discuss a case involving an individual known to me. It centres on the real and contentious issue of the “right to die”, specifically in the context of physician-assisted death. This issue is widely debated in the public eye for two reasons. The first considers under what conditions a person can choose when to die and the second considers if someone ever actually has a ‘right to die’. The following analysis will consider solutions to the ethical dilemma of physician-assisted death through the lens of three ethical theories. It will also take into account the potential influence of an individual’s religious beliefs
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In terms of the intensity and duration, the disease is life-long and is accompanied by increasing emotional and physical pain. Most of this pain is derived from slowly loosing major bodily functions like walking, speaking, eating, blinking, and even breathing (Canadian medical journal: http://www.cmaj.ca) The extent of those affected include himself and his family members who are most likely suffering emotionally as well. The degree of pain and the extent to which this pain affects others is greater than the pleasure that could be derived from allowing the disease to progress further in answering no to Rob’s request. Thus, under utilitarian principles, the doctor should uphold Rob’s request for physician-assisted death.
Under deontology, the consequences of an action, like pain or pleasure for utilitarians, are not relevant to whether or not it is ethical (Athabasca University –study guide unit 2 pg. 9 Kantian Deontology). This can be seen when difficult or grievous actions lead to unintended good consequences. For example, an individual knowingly drives a motor vehicle under the influence of alcohol, causing a collision. The result of this act caused him to seek assistance in addressing his alcohol dependency and become an advocate in preventing further pain and suffering to the general public.

Deontology, as theorized by Kant, also disagreed with making moral choices out of things like compassion or kindness. The
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