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Artificial nutrition and hydration and end of life decision making - Term Paper Example

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Artificial nutrition and hydration and end of life decision making

The Hospice and Palliative Nurses Association (HPNA) emphasized that ANH was originally described as a means to effectively “provide short-term support for patients who were acutely ill and are often used to provide a bridge to recovery, or to meet therapeutic goals of prolonging life” (Hospice and Palliative Nurse Association (HPNA), 2011, p. 1). The current discourse hereby aims to present crucial ethical concerns or dilemma pertaining to AHN, especially during end of life (EOL) situations using support from evidence based sources. Ethical Concerns In an article written by Brody, et al. (2011), the authors explored controversial issues ranging from allegedly prolonging or sustaining unconscious human life, particularly that which was apparently categorized as patients in permanent vegetative state (PVS); also in terms of determining conformity to patients’ or relatives’ wishes in contrast to health care practitioners’ professional guidelines (Sampson, Candy, & Jones, 2009). Other ethical issues ensue from the religious beliefs and practices, specifically that which were defined under the early doctrines of the Roman Catholic church, to wit: “to value above all the ability of medical technology to extend life indefinitely was interpreted by the Church as idolatry” (Drane, 2006; cited in Brody, et al.: The 1950s, 2011, par. 2). This original belief apparently seemed to stem from the perspective that life and death is governed by the Supreme Being or God and that any intervention not considered within the natural course of life was therefore considered not within the Will of God. This belief was apparently changed in recent Catholic teachings which reportedly supported that “the position currently endorsed by the Church hierarchy stresses life prolongation based on fundamental human dignity. The two most recent Popes have each stated that administration of food and water, artificially or not, constitutes ordinary care “in principle;” ANH is to be considered not a medical technology, but rather a “natural means of preserving life.” Removing ANH is “euthanasia by omission” because the cause of death would be lack of sustenance rather than the underlying disease” (Brody, et al.:Recent Roman Catholic Teaching, 2011, par. 1). The new teachings support the belief that life should be preseved by all means, as a consistent paradigm towards provision of all methods and possible resources available and accessible to the family members and to the medical practitioners governing the patients’ lives. Concurrently, as expounded by Brody, et al. (2011), a transition in bioethics that acknowledged patients rights to refuse life extending medical care, consistent with patients’ rights and the obligation to allegedly respect patient autonomy has elevated application of ANH to face the following ethical concerns: “Bioethicists who supported mandatory ANH offered several arguments: terminating food or fluids made the physician causally responsible for death; the burdens of ANH seemed minor compared to the overriding good of life prolongation; food and fluids represented “care” at a basic, symbolic level; and in an environment dominated by cost containment, forgoing ANH might lead to the selective elimination of vulnerable patients” ...Show more

Summary

Artificial Nutrition and Hydration and End of Life Decision Making Institutional Affiliation Artificial Nutrition and Hydration and End of Life Decision Making There are end-of-life decisions that prove to be challenging, not only to the dying persons; but more so, to the family members tasked to make crucial life changing decisions…
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