Case Study Ethical Dilemma Advanced Practice Nursing

CaseStudy Ethical Dilemma Advanced Practice Nursing

CaseStudy Ethical Dilemma Advanced Practice Nursing

Advancednursing encompasses some issues that are prone to causing an ethicaldilemma. This aspect means that the fulfillment of one choice whenfaced with a given situation, will automatically lead to contraveninganother alternative that was equal a worthwhile choice. Whether tochoose one or another, is an issue that is prone to individualpreferences, other times circumstantial occurrences as well as thesocial pressures of the prevailing conditions (, 2015).One case that presents a real instance of conflict of moral standingis that of mercy killing. This practice involves helping a sufferingpatient meet his or her death in cases where there is a very littlechance of the patient surviving but is under extreme pain at themoment. This is a real dilemma since the role of a nurse is tosafeguard life and at the same time help humanity to avert suffering.

Onereal theory of ethical dilemma is that of least harm. This principleargues out that when faced with a case in which one has to make achoice between two moral compelling alternatives, it is wise to stickto one that levels the least form of harm in totality(, 2015). This principle, however, fails to gain fullapplicability in the case of euthanasia where it is hard to determinewhich between the options of providing a quick death to a sufferingperson and leaving the person to suffer from pain is feasible.Whatever the choice than a nurse may settle on, some factors may playa part to influence the decision. It is against the law of manycountries to willingly cause the death of an individual and chancesare if ascertained that a nurse willingly provided a mercy-killingpractice on a patient, she may be prone to criminal prosecutioncharges. It would, therefore, be very important for a nurse to beaware of the legal provisions of her locality about mercy killing.For instance, in areas where this practice is deemed as unlawful, itmay be wise for a nurse to refrain from the practice so as to avertany court suits that may ensue as a result. It is, however, not aguarantee for a nurse to practice the exercise just because mercykilling is accepted legally in his or her area of operation.

Itis also, quite important for the health facility in which the nurseis operating to provide a clear policy regarding the issue so as toprovide a clear directive on the dilemma. There are some legalprinciples that apply to this form of practice (Lloyd, 2010). One ofthem is the aspect of murder that relates to the practice. It isnormally wrong to deny anyone the right to live, whether willingly orunwillingly. The law relies on the fact that patients have a right tolive. However, patients have the right to reject treatment, and may,therefore, be subjected to mercy killing if they have made thedecision to stop living. It is also an ethical problem in that thereis a problem on whether a nurse should let the patient make thedecision to stop living if she has a duty to safeguard the lives ofthe patients.

Oneclear case that involved mercy killing is that of Aruna Shanbaug, whowas at the center of a court battle that ensued after she wasrendered into a vegetative state following a sexual assault (BBCNews, 2015). Although the court accepted a plea made by her friend,Pinki Virani, to accord her mercy killing, it, however, did notaccord her the request. Shanbaug later died of pneumonia in May 2015after being in the vegetative state for about 42 years. As a resultof the case, the court made allowed passive mercy killing in India.

Individualswho support mercy killing hold a view that people have a right to bealleviated from suffering. They do believe that some sufferings aretoo much to bear, and the best option is for one to be accorded anoption that presents a much less chance of suffering. They alsobelieve that the choice of continuing living needs to be let to thesuffering individual or it the person is not in a good position ofdoing so, such a decision could be let to a close relative or friend,who are so dear to the individual (, 2011). Otherpeople are against the practice since they hold a view that allpeople have a right to live and no matter what situation. They alsobelieve that whatever form of killing is wrong, and it goes againstthe legal provisions of many countries.

Thereare various actions that individuals, governments, and groups maytake so as to ensure that the forms of dilemma that follow thepractice are well averted. One of them is through streamlining ageneral rule on a country’s stand against the practice so as toprovide a clear directive to nurses (Lloyd, 2010). Another issue isfor people to hold consultative discussions when faced with theissue. The third recommendation deals with the most people in thesociety to be geared towards safeguarding life so as to avert a caseof a dilemma.

Inconclusion, it is important for nurses to keep in mind proper thatthere are legal provisions that are aimed towards safeguarding thelives of people (Lloyd, 2010). Most governments have strict lawsagainst murder, and it is, therefore, important for nurses to avoidbreaking the law.


BBCNews, (2015). ArunaShanbaug: Brain-damaged India nurse dies 42 years after rape – BBCNews.Retrieved 3 December 2015, from,(2015). Principlesand Theories.Retrieved 3 December 2015, from,(2015). IFMERCY KILLING BECOMES LEGAL.Retrieved 3 December 2015, from

Lloyd,A. (2010). Thelaw on mercy killing is badly in need of an 3 December 2015, from,(2011). MajorEthical Dilemmas in Nursing.Retrieved 3 December 2015, from