Ms. Robaczynski Killed Mr. Gessner
In the case under analysis, the nurse killed the patient through forgoing treatment. Forgoing treatment is the withdrawal from or withholding of treatment (Butts & Rich, 2015). Ms. Robaczynski disconnected the respirator, which led to the patient’s death. If the nurse had failed to provide effective treatment during a crisis, it could not have been regarded as killing. However, the nursing professional made a decision to disconnect the device that was of vital importance.
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It was a well-thought decision. Of course, Ms. Robaczynski tried to act in the patient’s interest and do something that is beneficial for him. The principle of autonomy was followed, which should be a norm for nurses (Grace, 2017). However, the decision concerning the end of life is not within the boundaries of patients’ autonomy.
Mr. Gessner’s Decision
I would definitely view the nurse’s decisions differently if Mr. Gessner had asked her to disconnect the respirator. In that case, Ms. Robaczynski’s actions could be regarded as assisted suicide as it involves the patient’s decision (Grace, 2017). If Mr. Gessner had revealed his desire to die or end his life, the nurse could have considered taking actions like disconnecting certain devices. In this case, the principles of autonomy and dignity would be followed, which is beneficial for nursing practice (Butts & Rich, 2015).
Again, the boundaries of these principles can hardly be appropriate for suicide or assisted suicide. Nevertheless, it could be possible to admit that the nurse acted in the patient’s best interests. In the case in question, Mr. Gessner had no opportunity to decide or reveal his viewpoint on the matter. There are always chances that a patient can feel better, but killing or suicide brings these chances to zero.
Butts, J. B., & Rich, K. L. (2015). Nursing ethics. Burlington, MA: Jones Bartlett Publishers.
Grace, P. J. (2017). Nursing ethics and professional responsibility in advanced practice. Burlington, MA: Jones Bartlett Publishers.