one of the hot issues in nursing (euthanasia)

  1. If a patient's relatives or the patient himself ask u to remove any life-saving devices, would u do it?
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  2. 17 Comments

  3. by   gwenith
    There is a vast, vast difference between euthanasia - which is defined as:-

    The act or practice of ending the life of an individual suffering from a terminal illness or an incurable condition, as by lethal injection or the suspension of extraordinary medical treatment. http://www.yourdictionary.com/ahd/e/e0244600.html

    And termination of extraordinary measures of sustaining life.

    Athough this is the dictionary definition there is a growing division about how society views and uses the word Euthanasia - here is a link that explains some of the terminology - note I personally do not agree with everything written in this article

    http://www.hsnsw.asn.au/euthanasia.html

    I did agree with this statement though

    At no time do we seek to discredit the concept of the value of human life; but we maintain that life must be considered to be worth living, by the person who has to live it.

    Edited: Why - been on nights - didn't make sense
    Last edit by gwenith on Apr 24, '04
  4. by   Darchild77
    of course not- not willing to lose my whole life(jail )over a stranger . But if it was me or my family, the answer may change. If I was a quadrapalegic and had to be on a vent etc.. I would want one of my family members or anyone to put me out of my private hell- I know I could not live like this-but I would not want them to get in trouble with the law, they'd have to be creative. mind you, these would be in extreme cases such as the boy who could only talk by blinking his eyes, and asked his mom to end his life. In this case, it was documented by several different people( wrote a book with the help of others) that he did not want to continue living, therefore, I don't think his mom should be punished.
  5. by   EarthChild1130
    I wouldn't because of the legal issues associated with it.
  6. by   elkpark
    In the US, people have a right to refuse treatment and to make decisions about their care (even if it would hasten the end of their lives) if they are legally competent to make those decisions. However, situations like that (in which a patient is asking to discontinue life-sustaining treatment) are usually referred to an ethics committee review, there is often a competency evaluation, and many people are involved in looking at the situation before a decision is made.

    If I were at the bedside and a patient indicated that he wanted me to (for example,) turn off his vent, I wouldn't just do it on my own ...
  7. by   nursebedlam
    nope,,, not my call
  8. by   Energizer Bunny
    Although I would certainly feel for the patient and may even want to help him, I would tell him that I could not end his suffering permanently.
  9. by   leslie :-D
    God that's a tough one. if the conditions were truly terminal with suffering, who knows what i'd do if i could get away with it. you just don't know until you're there.
  10. by   fergus51
    I'll do what is legal. We do withdraw care (ex. removing patients from ventillators, etc.) and I have no moral problems with participating in that. We don't kill patients though.
  11. by   gwenith
    I was on ND yesterday so I did not make myself clear

    We do withdraw treatment - I work ICU yes we do withdraw and I have had patients with "living wills/advanced health care directives" where we have either not initiated treatment in the first place or we have pulled out. I do not think there is one of us working in critical care that has not come across this situation. BUT that is very very different from euthanasia.

    I used to love the early definition of Cardiac Arrest as a "sudden and unexpected cessation of life" - this definition allowed for normal natural death as an expected part of the cycle of life.

    There is no one answer to your question because there is no hard and fast rule. It is a continuum of medical intervention with total aggressive intervention one end and a natural death at the other.

    But it is still not euthanasia.
  12. by   TweetiePieRN
    No, I could not do this. Legally, I don't think I would be able to even if I wanted to.
  13. by   BabyRN2Be
    Nope... too many ethical and legal problems. Don't want to buy any of those.
  14. by   mattsmom81
    I came into work one day and day shift told me this story....they were understandably flustered....a family member (nurse) had barricaded herself in her father's room and pulled the ETT and turned off the vent. She silenced the alarms on the monitor for as long as she could. When the staff saw dysrhthmia on the central monitor and tried to get in the room, they couldn't. She held them off til the patient was beyond ACLS rescue. She knew her father would not want to live this way and couldn't get the docs to see things her way. She did not want to wait for ethics committee and she literally took things into her own hands.

    Staff reaction was emotional and ambivalent..it was a heart wrenching moment for many of us as we contemplated what this nurse did. She had to know the risks she took and I often wonder what she is doing now and if she would do it again.

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