Institutional Affiliation: Ethical Problems of Death and Dying

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The reading assignment's major theme is health care ethics, and the author highlights the importance of the principle of autonomy in the provision of medical services. Except in tightly defined emergency, the healthcare provider is required to get informed permission from the patient or his surrogates (Baillie, McGeehan, Garrett, & Garrett, 2013). Following then, difficulties about life ("ethical problems of death and dying") emerge. The author contends that the health care professional is entrusted with treating the patient but must prioritize adequate and conscientious pain palliation or the situation may develop to euthanasia or assisted suicide. Active self-murder is the process by which an individual does something to lead to his or her own death, whereas passive suicide is where the care provider leads to the patient’s death through an omission. Towards this end, medical ethics deem that the care provider has to take precautions to ensure the wellbeing of patients.

Additionally, when it comes to medical futility, the situation happens when the continuation of a certain treatment might have the expected effect and yet lack benefit to the patient (Baillie et al., 2013, p. 182). In such a scenario (for example, when the person is in a coma), the client’s surrogates have the task of determining whether to continue or terminate treatment. This is considered futile because the patient does not actually benefit while the surrogates continue paying for his or her medical needs.

Subsequently, end of life issues emerge. Often, the surrogates are unwilling to talk about the death and tend to pull out until the very end. Usually, if the patient’s deduced actions and values are known, then the surrogates have an easier time to make decisions. However, this could prove to be difficult if the patient did not make oral or written wishes regarding the end to his or her life. These are issues that caregivers and patients surrogates face on a daily basis.


Baillie, H. W., McGeehan, J., Garrett, T. M., & Garrett, R. M. (2013). Healthcare Ethics Sixth Edition. New Jersey: Pearson Education, Inc.

May 10, 2023
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Ethics Reading

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