According to the case, Ms. Robaczynski had to disconnect her patient’s respirator because Mr. Gessner had no chance to survive. The nurse explains that there was a need for the mercy killing, but the opinions of experts in the field on this case tend to vary. Realizing that the actions of the nurse can be regarded as inappropriate in accordance with many theories, I cannot regard the decision of the nurse as a crime (Starr, 2017).
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I think so because it is the fact that the patient could not survive, and the nurse’s actions discontinued the sufferings of Mr. Gessner. At the same time, I suppose that it was not the best alternative because she did not ask the patient who was in a coma or his relatives for permission to do that. Therefore, I believe that it is difficult to classify her actions as a crime, whereas the nurse should not have made such a decision on her own.
As is clear from the case study, one of the most important details that make the experts think that the nurse has committed a crime is related to the fact that Mr. Gessner was in a coma and, therefore, he was deprived of an opportunity to express his opinion. What is more, the case does not present the information on the nurse’s communication with relatives or other agents protecting the interests of the patient.
If Mr. Gessner were conscious and asked to be disconnected from his respirator, the outcomes for the nurse would be different because the cases when patients of their relatives ask for discontinuing treatment occur quite often (Subba et al., 2016). Taking into account the opinions of their patients and their relatives and documenting their consent to treatment cessation, nurses improve the situation and avoid further problems.
Starr, L. (2017). Merciless versus mercy killing? Australian Nursing and Midwifery Journal, 24(7), 25.
Subba, S. H., Khullar, V., Latafat, Y., Chawla, K., Nirmal, A., & Chaudhary, T. (2016). Doctors’ attitude towards euthanasia: A cross-sectional study. Journal of the Association of Physicians of India, 64, 44.