Sample Ethics Paper on End of Life in ICU

End of Life in ICU

New devices and drugs have been developed over the years to reduce the adverse effects of diseases at the Intensive Care Unit. An example is the life support machine that helps people to breathe when they cannot do so without its help, thus granting them a chance to recover and breathe on their own. Sometimes, when doctors are convinced that a patient would never recover enough to breathe on his or her own, they advise their closest relatives to take them off the machines and hence let them die. Currently, 90% of the individuals whose life support machines are withdrawn lose their lives (Crippen 23). Zitter states that the high number of deaths is as a result of the complexities of post ICU care (12). In essence, Intensive care medical practitioners bear the role of curing diseases and hence restoring health or function for a long time. Therefore, the notion of granting a dignified death contrary to the role of practitioners, and this creates a moral dilemma on their part.

Ethically, euthanasia is acceptable because a cure is no longer an option to a particular patient. Therefore, the clinician must offer a painless death considering the agony of the disease. Despite the ethical standards set, legal perspectives vary. In some jurisprudence, if the practitioner is known to have aided a patient to die, the medic may be charged as a criminal (Rocker 72). However, in others, in case patients grant their consent, then a doctor may administer euthanasia without the possibility of being charged in a criminal court (73).  Indeed, individuals suffering from chronic illnesses have a right to die if life is a physical, financial, and psychological burden to them. This right ought to be protected by the law, consequently allowing practitioners to offer the best possible means to death.


Works Cited

Crippen, David. End-of-life Communication in the Icu: A Global Perspective. New York: Springer, 2015.

Rocker, Graeme. End of Life Care in the Icu: From Advanced Disease to Bereavement. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2010.

Zitter, Jessica N. Extreme Measures: Finding a Better Path to the End of Life, 2017.