Posted: November 8th, 2022
YOU’VE GOT MAIL: You just received the following email. As the administrator of this facility, you are responsible to address this concern. Did Dr. Spillman do the right thing? Discuss the moral, ethical, and legal ramifications of Dr. Spillman’s conduct. Reference any federal laws applicable to this scenario.
In two different paragraph give your personal opinion to Jessica Egloff and Leeann Forsythe
Physician assisted death (PAD) is a practice that has been debated over the years. Most states prohibit this; however, there has been many challenges. The states that have legalized the practice include Oregon, Washington, Vermont, California, Colorado, Washington D.C., Hawaii, and New Jersey. In the states that allow this to occur, it is to be used as a last resort. Advanced palliative care should be the standard for end of life circumstances. (Quill & Sussman, n.d.)
A 1997 US supreme court ruling declared that the legalizing or criminalizing the use of physician assisted deaths was a matter of the states. In the states that PAD is legal, physicians have a very difficult decision to make based on ethical standards. When becoming a physician these individuals take an oath to do everything possible to promote the health of patients. Therefore, participating in PAD is a way of violating their professional cod of ethics. On the other hand, refusing a patient looking for assistance in ending their suffering will likely look to other sources if denied by their physician. Some physicians may experience moral issues with turning away a patient that is suffering. (Lagay, 2003)
As an administrator in this position, I would speak with Dr. Spillman about the situation. The discussion would include a review of company policies on the situation. In my opinion, Dr. Spillman should have consulted social services and hospice services to assist the patient in finding the most comforting treatment for end stages of disease process. Hospice services have become quite advanced, and they have learned best practice for maintaining quality of life in the end stages.
Lagay, F. (2003) Physician Assisted Suicide: The Law and Professional Ethics. Retrieved from
Quill, T & Sussman, B (n.d.) Physician Assisted Death. Retrieved from
Physician assisted death and Physician assisted suicide are terms that are often used interchangeably. I will admit that one term sounds more humane than the other. The Supreme Court ruled in 1997 that the 14th amendment does not include a person’s right with assistance in dying. In addition, that each state should decide if assisted death should be outlawed or legalized in their state. I live in Oregon and we have the Death with Dignity Act. Oregon was the first state to legalize Physician Assisted Death (PAD). This act is well written and allows Oregon residents who are terminally ill to receive and self-administer lethal doses of medications (Westefeld et al., 2013 pp.539-540). I believe that each state should adopt similar legislation that allows individuals the right to die with dignity. Individuals that oppose should not speak for all. I feel that each state should allow PAD and it should be presented as an option to terminally ill patients much like they are offered hospice services. I also believe that only those who believe in these services would elect to utilize PAD. I recognize that extensive training would need to be provided to health care professionals and that training would include cultural competency. I have worked in healthcare for more than twenty years. In my early years as a Certified Nursing Assistant I worked on an oncology unit for 5 years and I learned a lot. I learned that the human spirit is amazingly beautiful and that everyone should be allowed to face death on their terms when terminally ill.
Regarding our discussion board scenario, I do not feel Dr. Spillman handled the situation appropriately. I feel he should have taken a seat at the patient’s bedside and listened to his concerns. Once he had all the information he could explain that he was going to have the patient speak with a mental health specialist and following their discussion the patient would be presented with all options. After all patients have the right to truth, confidentiality, autonomy, beneficence, non-maleficence, and justice.
Doherty, R. F., & Purtilo, R. B. (2016). Ethical dimensions in the health professions (6th ed.). Elsevier Health Sciences.
Westefeld, J. S., Casper, D., Lewis, A. M., Manlick, C., Rasmussen, W., Richards, A., & Sieck, B. C. (2013). Physician-assisted death and its relationship to the human services professions. Journal of Loss and Trauma, 18(6), 539-555.
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