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Code of Ethics

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Code of Ethics Paper
HCS/335 Ethics:

It is said that the greatest human freedom is to live, and die according to one’s desires and beliefs. Death with dignity is a national organization located in Oregon, which is non-partisan, non-profit that has led the legal defense and education of the Oregon law for nearly twenty years; however, the actual law for death with dignity was not passed until 1994 and due to legal issues, it became effective later in 1997. The Board of Directors for Death with Dignity Movements are some of the most esteemed medical, legal and scholarly experts, which are responsible for the political defense of the Oregon law and the promotion of death with dignity initiatives in other states. The Oregon Death with Dignity act has given patients what others might think or find deplorable a chance to die with dignity in their own terms. The Act allows mentally competent terminally ill adults who have six months or less to live receive, under strict safeguard, a prescription for life ending medication
The goal of the Death with Dignity National Center is three fold: defend dignity, mobilize dignity, and preserve dignity. To Defend Dignity, the Death with Dignity National Center works with an “extensive and costly legal defense of the Oregon law, as well as coalition building providing the flexibility to rapid response to both legal and political challenges” (DWDNC, 2011). A second goal of the Death with Dignity National Center is to mobilize dignity. In mobilizing dignity, the Death with Dignity National Center “provides various educational and outreach resources which identify and support states actively seeking to pass death with dignity laws similar to the state of Oregon” (DWDNC, 2011). The goal of preserving dignity is “achieve by developing and nurturing diverse financial resources which ensures financial vitality and its position as the leader in the Death with Dignity movement” (DWDNC, 2011). These goals help fulfill the mission of the organization which is to “provide information, education, research and support for the preservation, implementation and promotion of Death with Dignity laws which allow a terminally ill, mentally competent adult the right to request and receive a prescription to hasten death under certain specific safeguards” as well as “promoting Death with Dignity laws based on their model legislation, the Oregon Death with Dignity Act, as a stimulus to nationwide improvements in end-of-life care and as an option for dying individuals” (DWDNC, 2011).
The goals of the organization are as follows:", 1. To educate patients and family 2. To maintain the dignity of assisted death 3. To provide world class healthcare 4. To continue to educate health care professional and so much more.
The goals of the organization, Death with Dignity, also include the ability to allow a person to give the permission to have assisted suicide. Death with Dignity will provide assistance with that, either by means of lethal injection or overdose of medication. This is very different from disconnecting or refusing a life support system that offers no hope of recovery for a dying patient. The organization will maintain the respect of the patient and the patient’s wishes, to make them as comfortable as they can until the end of their lives.
The organization is tied to its principles by the “principle of autonomy”, which means, to make decisions about one’s own life, is a part of the ethical principles. If the patient is found to be in sound mind, but terminally ill, they have the rationale (assumes that one is faced with a specific problem and focuses primarily on a search for the optimal solution) to make such a decision.
It is also tied by “beneficence”- the duty of a practitioner to seek the good for patients under all circumstance. This is would fall under the Dr., ethical values and his primary care for his patient. It would be the patients Dr. to do all that he is capable of doing to make his terminally ill patient comfortable in their last hours. Although it would not be ethical or moral to assist a patient suicide, it could be a personal decision, based on a family decision.
The Death with Dignity National Center represents both poles of the ethical spectrum in regard to euthanasia. It is only natural that a person believes they have the right to choose whether they live or die, however religious viewpoints may encourage the individual to think differently. Many orthodox religions believe euthanasia to be a willful disregard for God's order, and these religions believe euthanasia to be tantamount to murder because of the sanctity of life. While other religions embrace euthanasia as a respectable choice of the individual. Ethically, the DNDC is not in the wrong in the very least. It is common knowledge that if a person wishes to die, they will go about it by whatever means necessary. Even individuals whose religion may completely forbid suicide, these individuals will find other means, such as placing themselves in extreme danger in the hopes of an accident occurring. It is also important for the DNDC to be very clear about its standpoint morally and ethically on euthanasia because of the extreme prejudice from organized religion against this organization.
The foundation of the culture of the Death with Dignity National Center is based on the 1997 Oregon law called, the Death with Dignity Act. According to "Death with Dignity Act" (2011), “terminally-ill Oregonians are allowed to end their lives through the voluntary self-administration of lethal medications, expressly prescribed by a physician for that purpose.” It is this statement, these criteria, that allows the cultural and ethical sides of such a controversial and sensitive topic and procedure come together. The Death with Dignity National Center, belief that terminally-ill, mentally competent patients have the right to make their own decision on ending their life of pain by taking prescription medication is the separating factor and difference between their mission and another controversial term assisted suicide. The Death with Dignity National Center does not advocate assisted suicide due to the fact that suicide refers more to a person who wants to end an open ended span of life, someone who is just looking to kill themselves instead of ending the spread of an insurable disease ("Terminology- Death with Dignity National Center", 2011). The Center also uses this distinction between assisted suicide and dying with dignity to help ease any moral, ethical, and religious conflicts and ramifications since the person committing suicide are just to kill themselves. The Center main focus is protecting and maintaining a terminally-ill person’s right to choose to end their lives and end the suffering they are going through. They work on this goal in health care facilities, in courts, and in the political arena. Their distinction between dying with dignity and assisted suicide allows the organization to define their culture, keep a clean ethical sense and avoid conflicts between the two when making decisions.
It is believed that when a making a life decision as difficult as this, it is extremely important that the organization’s ethical values support the decision maker themselves as well as others. Being a Christian it is quite difficult to swallow considering per the bible, death is supposed to come naturally; however, it is quite difficult to endure pain and suffering without the help of medication. You want to ensure that work that is being done is not only for political gain but monetary compensation as well. We live in a word of nothing but greed, and people will do just about anything to have some type of financial reward, and that includes forging a patient’s signature to ensure it goes through. What is liked about this organization, is that they have and do follow strict protocol, it is a not for profit organization that are usually funded by donations and grants, and with those, there are more rules enforced to ensure no mismanagement of the finances. So yes, the Death with Dignity Organization Act in the state of Oregon does indeed follow most ethical values.
The Death with Dignity National Center feels that they have a responsibility to educate and inform the public and work with other states looking to pass death and dignity laws similar to the one in Oregon. The organization offers medical, legal, and scholarly research on its web site and newsletter. The organization board of directors is comprised of medical, legal, and scholarly experts. The organization wants people to realize that they have options when they are nearing the end of their lives. Families have an option in a state like Oregon for the prolonged life of someone who is in a coma or is brain dead. The center can help families make the right decisions for their families; whether it is to wait or to use the Death with Dignity Act. According to the Death with Dignity Act" (2011):
“With the 13 years of data showing Oregon's Death with Dignity law is safe and utilized the way it was intended with no evidence of a slippery slope for vulnerable Oregonians and since our win in Washington in 2008, bills which seek to improve end-of-life care have been introduced in state legislatures around the country.”
The Death with Dignity National Center is being used as a guide for other states looking to pass similar laws. The organization knows that all data and information gathered by the center will help in the future for others to make the same decision the center made. This article has covered many aspects of the ethics of Euthanasia or as called in this article “Death with Dignity”. Though there are many who may be against this type of death, there are just as many who are for it. This type of euthanasia is not approved in most states, but the Oregon Board of Directors for the “Death with Dignity National Center” is trying to get other states to adopt this “Death with Dignity Act” so more people can choose the way they want to go out of this world.

References:
Death with Dignity Act. (2011). Retrieved on 11/20/2011 from http://public.health.oregon.gov/ProviderPartnerResources/EvaluationResearch/DeathwithDignityAct/Pages/index.aspx
Terminology- Death with Dignity National Center. (2011). Retrieved on 11/20/2011 from http://www.deathwithdignity.org/terminology
“The American Heritage Medical Dictionary” Retrieved on 11/20/2011 from www.oregon.gov/DHS/ph/pas

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