Ethics and Challenges of Euthanasia
As there are other patients who have a higher chance of living, euthanizing the patient was the more practical option. Euthanasia advocates argue that futile care may harm others. For instance, a young child with an acute respiratory disease, who has a potentially higher chance of getting cured, could not get a bed and ventilator in the ICU because others were using it even though they are not getting any personal benefit from the treatment (Niederman & Berger, 2010). This kind of situation was discussed in a draft document from a Department of Health Working Group in anticipation of an influenza pandemic (Niederman & Berger, 2010). When resources are inevitably scarce, the limited supply of resources should be given to those who are most likely to benefit (Niederman & Berger, 2010). Moreover, futile care treatments can result to a decrease in the quality of care (Aghabarary & Dehghan Nayeri, 2016). In this case scenario, there are more patients than there are healthcare providers. As days passed by without any news from outside the hospital, healthcare providers are feeling more distress by the number of patients they have to treat with limited resources. The distress that the healthcare providers are feeling affects their job performance.
However, people who are against euthanasia argue that such decisions are not for the physicians to make. A physician’s job is to provide treatment as long as the patient wants it even though the physician deemed the treatment as having no benefit to the patient (Veatch & Spicer, 1992). The point is, a physician has limited power to decide when to stop treatment for the patient. In the context of the case scenario, euthanizing a patient is not the physician’s role. In addition, the argument that physicians only wanted to free up resources for others is not valid.
According to the National Health Council, every patient has the right to informed consent in treatment decisions (Principles of Patients’ Rights and Responsibilities, 2018). The patient also has the right to continue treatment or refuse treatment. Telling the patient that a treatment is going to make them feel better without adding any other details does not guarantee the patient’s informed consent and is a violation of a patient’s right.