Physician-Assisted suicide in case of Minor or one with mental illness. Discuss informed consent in case of a minor (17-year-old) requesting physician-assisted suicide.
For a 17-year-old requesting physician-assisted suicide the case of informed consent cannot hold any ground and is such a case the request would need to be denied and the patient monitored closely for any attempt at taking their own lives and also be supported with counseling to help address their thoughts of wanting to die. As a 17-year-old, the patient, therefore, does not have the legal authority of informed decisions relating to their health and even PAS. The parents of the 17-year-old would be the ones with the legal authority to make informed decisions over the minor’s health. Having the legal authority to make health decisions affecting the minor, the patients cannot agree with the decision to perform PAS on their child (Simmons, 2018). On the other hand, by allowing PAS, the physician would be going against the central principle of healthcare, which includes the principle of beneficence and non-maleficence. Through the bioethical principle, the physician is thus required to only perform actions and procedures that benefit the patients and to also not to consciously perform any actions or procedures that may actively harm the patients (Goligher, Ely, Sulmasy, Bakker, et al., 2017). In this regard, PAS would thus not be provided to a minor in the following of the bioethical principles of beneficence and non-maleficence. Finally, in most states, PAS is normally allowed for terminally ill and elderly patients who have the capability to make an informed decision relating to their health. In the case study, the 17-year-old patient doesn’t seem to be terminally ill or to be of advanced age. The patient does not qualify for PAS in nearly all states in the US.
- Goligher, E. C., Ely, E. W., Sulmasy, D. P., Bakker, J., Raphael, J., Volandes, A. E., Patel, B.
- M., Payne, K., Hosie, A., Churchill, L., White, D. B., & Downar, J. (2017). Physician-Assisted Suicide and Euthanasia in the ICU: A Dialogue on Core Ethical Issues. Critical care medicine, 45(2), 149–155. https://doi.org/10.1097/CCM.0000000000001818.
- Simmons, K.M. (2018). Suicide and Death with Dignity, Journal of Law and the Biosciences, Volume 5, Issue 2, Pages 436–439, https://doi.org/10.1093/jlb/lsy008.