Nurse Robaczynksi’s Ethics of a Mercy Killer
Subject: Medical Ethics
Introduction Speaking about the complex moral, ethical, and legal dilemma that took place, it is important to understand the details of the situation fully. First of all, the patient, Mr. Gessner, without a doubt was in a very difficult situation. His condition was characterized by bladder cancer, cirrhosis of the liver, pneumonia, heart failure, and coma. With the combined indicators of having cirrhosis of the liver, pneumonia, and heart failure being fatal, the probability that Mr. Gessner will live longer than one to three days is very low. A nurse, Mary Robaczynski, decided to provide the patient with the help she called “mercy killing”. The following paper aims to comment on whether Ms. Robaczynski’s act can be qualified as murder and can her actions be viewed in a different way if Mr. Gessner had asked her to disconnect him from his respirator.
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Main body Evaluating the events that took place in this case, a row of moral, ethical, and legal issues come to the foreground. First of all, addressing Ms. Robaczynski’s from the legal perspective, her actions are illegal because euthanasia or “mercy killing” is forbidden in the United States under any circumstance, whether a patient or one’s representative agrees or not. Next, the case does not show that the patient or his reprehensive have asked the nurse to stop Mr. Gessner’s sufferings by disconnecting him from his respirator. Life is sacred as far as I believe. No matter how hard life can be for any person, it is only up to God to decide whether the person should die. Mr. Gessner’s sufferings were not as bad as the sufferings of those patients with cancer who are conscious and are affected by the unbearable pains. It is true that his situation was desperate. It is hardly that he could live for over ten hours. For me, it is very difficult to understand why would Mary decide to intervene in this process, if all she needed to do is just not interfere in the process. If she felt sorry for the patient, she could just leave him in peace, and the Universe would guide the matters according to what should happen. Speaking about the changes in the situation if Mr. Gessner had asked her to disconnect him from his respirator, again it is important to remember that euthanasia is forbidden in the United States, and Mary would still be accused of murdering her patient. The next question is whether her actions could be morally and ethically justified if Mr. Gessner had asked her to help him die. My answer is ‘no’ again. Mr. Gessner’s desire to live or die is not the critical factor in this situation. Otherwise, those who commit suicide could be also morally justified. As a person who has sort of respect or special feeling for the Universe or some people would call this by the word “God” while some people would not like it at all, I am strongly confident that it is not within human jurisdiction even not for a person whose life is at stake to decide whether one’s life should be stopped. Conclusion As a final point, I would like to sum up my position by stating that Ms. Robaczynski is guilty of murdering her patient. Moreover, even if Mr. Gessner had asked her to help him die, the situation would not change.