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Ethical Decision-Making Model

Letter to The Client


Dear Client,


REF: Insights and Recommendations on Physician-Assisted Suicides


Following our conversation where you expressed your intention of visiting Holland for a physician-assisted suicide, I would like to give you my professional advice. As your doctor, I do understand that it is becoming unbearable for you to continue living in pain, something that has made you see death as looming.


From an ethical professional perspective, physician-assisted suicides are not right since they go against the significance of the sanctity of life. It is imperative that you comprehend the fact that human life is sacred since from the religious customs, humankind were made by God in His image and as a result, all human beings are a representation of God. Human life is very significant, and not even a single human life should be extinguished (Carr, 2009, p.12). Even unreligious people or the atheists have instinctive convictions regarding the intrinsic value of human life.


The ambiguity of life continues to taunt at people even after it comes to an end. The intervention of man into this mysterious death process that leads human beings towards their postmortem commencing of another life is an act of disrespect as well as an impermissible and illogical interference of the creature in God s will. It is wrong to substitute the authority of the Life-giver by the man.


Even though there is some logic in your desire to undergo a physician-assisted death, it is probable that this desire emanates from your need to avoid or bring to an end the unbearable pain which has been brought up by this terminal illness. However, there some logical questions that arise such as the ethical aspect of such the motive of this action (Jeffrey, 2009). Physician-assisted death for one’s individual dignity is paradoxical and self-contradictory: How can one honor oneself by making oneself nothing? Even in case one assumes that dignity consist exclusively in sovereignty, is it not a mortification to claim that sovereignty reaches its pinnacle exactly as it disappears? The deaths that people most admire are those that knowing that a person is dying, he or she faces the fact frontally along with acting accordingly: setting their affairs in order; arranging what could be last meetings with the people they love, and hitherto, with the strength of soul as well as a small reservoir of hope, with which they continue to live and work (Carr, 2009, p.22).


Kidder’s Ethical Checkpoints


Kidder’s Ethical Checkpoints comprises of nine checkpoints that ought to be utilized in making ethical decisions (Phil, 2011). The first checkpoint is to recognize that there is a moral issue. In considering assisting someone to take away their lives, a moral issue about life exists. The second step is to determine the actor, that is, to whom the problem belongs to. In the issue of physician-assisted suicides, the problem belongs to the society as well as the client who wished to take away his life. This step seeks to find the person(s) who are morally obligated as well as empowered to act in this moral issues of suicides that are assisted by physicians. It is imperative to note that all of us are involved, by means of the society, even though it is only a few who are responsible.


The third step involves the gathering of the relevant facts so as to arrive at a decision that is ethical in nature. At this point, facts are distinguished from assumptions. Good decision-making calls for a good comprehension of the underlying facts. The details gathered the motives of physician-assisted deaths, that is, the character that is reflected in the context. Then, a test for the right versus wrong of physician-assisted deaths should be carried out. One of the tests on the ethical issues would include the legal aspect of this action. Currently, in our State, it is illegal to carry out physician-assisted deaths, and that explains why the client prefers to go for that issue in Holland. Another test includes the stench test, which examines whether the issue goes against the moral principles. It is immoral to assist another human being to take away his life, making the issue fail the stench test. The Mum test is the golden rule as it relates to whether as a physician would do that. The fifth step is to test for the right versus wrong paradigms. The next step is to apply the resolution principles. The seventh step entails investigating the “trilemma” option. The eighth step now entails making the decision. Kidder’s final step involves the revisiting as well as reflection of the decision that had been made.


In conclusion, doctors should not be permitted to terminate the life of a person who is suffering as this is ethically wrong. This is because life is sacred, and physician-assisted suicides undervalue the sanctity of life. Technology has made the dying process to become complicated as it helps in making people live longer lives. As a result, the use of technology for the critically ill patients ought to be withdrawn so as to let the death process occur naturally.


Carr, M. F. (2009). Physician-assisted suicide: Religious perspectives on death with dignity.

Tucson, Ariz: Wheatmark.

Jeffrey, D. (2009). Against physician assisted suicide: A palliative care perspective. Oxford:

Radcliffe Pub.

Phil, V. I. (2011). Understanding Ethics and Ethical Decision-Making. Xlibris Corporation.

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