Significant Others Requesting Euthanasia
Significant others always project outcome of their patient depending on the sickness.
Four years ago, before I got admitted to a nursing school, I went to hospital at Intensive Care Unit with my uncle to to visit his friend who was involved in a road accident and sustained fractures in both upper and lower extremities as well as right rib and partly left rib. He was unable to open his eyes and take a glance at us all.
I could see were different accessories oxygen masks and chest drainage tubes, it was only chest movement that could assure me the man was alive. We were not allowed to stay more than ten minutes.
A couple of minutes before we left a sister to the patient arrived for the first time with tears dropping down her cheeks. Upon placing her eyes on her brother she asked the nurse on duty to do her a favor to give medication that could make him die peacefully than dying in extreme pain. The nurse turned her head to us (I and my uncle) then to the patient and finally to her and said, "we will do all we can to make him feel better and as a matter of fact he is doing well than the previous days".
She even added that, "It is only God who give and take life".
After the response she looked a bit relieved and understanding. The nurse reminded us to leave since our time of stay was over. On our way home my uncle told me that a brother who has been with the patient for previous days also made a similar request as his sister's but to a different nurse and she responded that it was not her responsibility to terminate life but to restore his normal being.
After I got admitted to a nursing school and having learned ethics I realized that the two nurses in both situations tried to adhere to principles of promoting good and preventing harm, but personally I felt the way the information was delivered was not professional.
She (the nurse) could have taken the significant other aside and counsel her on what is happening to the patient and her stance. As a nurse this would have made her understand and cooperate more hence dispelling anxiety. The information delivered can be true but in wrong environment this would reduce concentration and understanding on what she was told. Further more, looking at the period between the request and the response it looked she communicated and this would also reduce understanding on what was communicated.
Sometimes patients themselves may ask for medication to make them die peacefully when they are in great pain as such it is the responsibility of the nurse to counsel and make the patient understand this promotes hope in the patient.
A nurse can also communicate assessment results and explain what it means so as to get rid of fear which become a big problem and affect healing negatively.
It is therefore important for a nurse to properly use the knowledge acquired in class from all courses such as psychology, ethics, communication on top of nursing knowledge so as to make sure we give right information in the right environment, at the right time, using right approach; all these are aided by critical thinking and decision making.
Thank you for reading.Last edit by Joe V on Jan 14, '15