Active Euthanasia

Active Euthanasia

Active Euthanasia 150 150 Peter

Active Euthanasia

Directions: In this assignment, you will be working individually to write a paper about an ethical issue related to the beginning of life or health maintenance or allocation of health care resources, unjust, incompetent, illegal behavior or end-of-life issues. You will select only one of these ethical issues. The purpose is to explore both sides of an ethical dilemma (fiction or non-fiction) that you may have encountered in a health care setting and develop your skills in analyzing and resolving an ethical issue. Include your thoughts and reflections on an ethical issue, but opinions must be supported by references from the professional literature or valid websites. Use the Bioethical Decision Making Model to assist with a resolution of the dilemma. There must be at least three references. The paper and references must be in proper APA format in the APA template.

Use the following to format paper and include the subheadings listed in bold:

Title page, name, running head, page numbers and headings throughout the paper to make the sections easily distinguishable. Papers should be in the student’s own words with references cited in APA format.
Describe a specific Scenario/Ethical Dilemma related to your ethical issue (fiction or nonfiction), the ethical dilemma raised should be phrased as a question.
Consider Stakeholders who should be involved in the decision-making process along with an ethical framework for resolving the ethical dilemma. Consider who is affected by the issue and who should be involved in resolving the issue.
Analyze the decision, the Alternatives and Consequences/Option A versus Option B for what should be done. Substantiate your position or beliefs on both sides with at least two rationales. Include references that support your rationales.
Choose an action as a Resolution of the dilemma. Summarize what steps you believe are best. Relate the steps to previous readings.
Remember to use the following subheadings when writing your paper.

Sample Paper


Active euthanasia has led to more controversial arguments that involve moral, religious, ethical, and compassionate perceptions. Active euthanasia entails a physician’s deliberate action to administer lethal drugs that end the life of a terminally or incurably ill patient (Rachels, 2019). Administration of assisted suicide without the patient’s consent has led to ethical arguments on whether it should be administered without authorization. Therefore, this paper will focus on an ethical dilemma linked to active euthanasia and offer a resolution to the issue of a patient diagnosed with incurable brain cancer.

Ethical Dilemma

Willis, a 65-year old who has been experiencing developing severe headaches, decided to visit the family physician. After physical examination, the physician advised a CT scan. The pathologist’s results revealed that Willis has incurable brain cancer. He underwent partial resection of the temporal lobe, whose aim was to stop tumor growth, but the physicians discovered that the tumor was more aggressive. The physician gave Willis six months to live and advised them for physician-assisted death rather than living with pain and severe headaches. The family agreed on active euthanasia to eliminate the cost of treatment for such an incurable condition. Still, the patient insisted on dying at her convenient time with his family and friends present. The central ethical dilemma that comes with this issue is whether active euthanasia respects patient autonomy. Respect for autonomy is typically perceived as the primary reason for ethical issues in euthanasia. There has been a misconception on the significance of autonomy in euthanasia in the recent past. There are specific claims that active euthanasia tends to violate the self-determination and the principle of autonomy, thus contradicting the proponents of euthanasia.


The decision-making process for active euthanasia involved a collaborative effort between the family, relatives, nurses, physicians, and the patient. All the stakeholders were expected to decide collectively whether there is a need for active euthanasia. However, the ethical conflict remains that most patients fail to participate in this decision-making process due to their terminally ill condition.

The patient is the most affected in the decision of active euthanasia. The consequences of euthanasia are that most patients are killed rather than treated (McKinnon and Orellana-Barrios, 2019). Relatively, the physician and families experience emotional and psychological impacts resulting from death’s suddenness. The physician and the government healthcare departments should be involved in resolving the issue of euthanasia. The government needs to establish relevant legislation covering euthanasia to eliminate ethical dilemmas linked to this issue.

Alternatives and Consequences/Option A versus Option B

Palliative care and euthanasia have been the most common options for terminally ill patients. The decision for active euthanasia aimed to eliminate suffering and the burden of treating an incurable disease. Conducting active euthanasia involuntarily means going against the patient’s wishes, which breaches patient autonomy. The goal of euthanasia is to relieve pain and help the patient who wishes to die with dignity. Patients with poorly controlled pain or terminal illness can opt for active euthanasia to eliminate or reduce suffering. An alternative option for active euthanasia would be palliative care which respects the patient’s autonomy. Palliative care is a caring giving approach for people with serious illnesses despite the disease being incurable. Palliative care is an option for euthanasia since it mitigates suffering and optimizes the quality of life among individuals with serious illnesses (Riisfeldt, 2019). Palliative care addresses suffering beyond physical symptoms to a better quality of life.


Considerably, euthanasia is a suitable method of relieving distress and pain in terminally ill patients. However, the process of euthanasia should involve decision-making and autonomy to increase legal certainty in the provision of physician-assisted suicide. Shared decision-making will act as a suitable solution for this ethical dilemma. This is because the patient is engaged in the care decisions, thus protecting their autonomy. Protecting patient autonomy is vital in decisions concerning the most appropriate care approach. This approach will enable the patient and care provider to work together, thus allowing the patient to understand the purpose, risks, and benefits of various alternatives. The physicians need to respect the patient’s autonomy by offering them the information required to comprehend the advantage and hazards of euthanasia (Kavehrad, 2018). The physician needs obtained informed consent to ensure that the patient’s autonomy is respected. The physician should discuss the proposed intervention and interventions with the patient, highlighting both risks and benefits to involving the patient in decision-making.


In summation, active euthanasia has impacted patient autonomy through the deliberate cause of a patient’s death. The decision-making process of active euthanasia fails to respect patient autonomy. Therefore, there is a need for patient involvement and information about the risks and benefits to respect the patient’s autonomy during euthanasia. Patient autonomy is fundamental in active euthanasia but a challenging principle that most care providers fail to adhere to.



Kavehrad, C. (2018). Criteria for Active Euthanasia and Physician-Assisted Suicide.

McKinnon, B., & Orellana-Barrios, M. (2019). Ethics in physician-assisted dying and euthanasia. The Southwest Respiratory and Critical Care Chronicles7(30), 36-42.

Rachels, J. A. (2019). Active and passive euthanasia (pp. 273-279). Duke University Press.

Riisfeldt, T. D. (2019). Weakening the ethical distinction between euthanasia, palliative opioid use, and palliative sedation. Journal of medical ethics45(2), 125-130.