Helen Scott and her husband had a living will agreeing to pull the plug if one of them ever went into a vegetative state. Hellen Scott is put into a permanent vegetative state. However, during that time, she had an unborn baby who was still alive. The question that arises in this case is whether Helens husband should terminate her (Helens) life in accordance with the provisions of the living will. The following paragraphs will provide the actions that the CED should take regarding this case. Specifically, the considerations that the actions are based on will be discussed.
Before the actions are discussed, it is important to define some terms that are critical in this case scenario. The first of those is the permanent vegetative state. In this regard, this is a condition where an individual is in a chronic or a long-term condition of illness. According to Monti et al. (292), it is different from the state of coma, as an individual in a vegetative state might be awake but lacks any awareness. The use of this phrase is deemed unprofessional and unethical, as there is the pertinent question whether an individual can really be vegetative. As such, it is more professional, respectful, and ethical to term the condition as an unresponsive wakefulness syndrome (Monti et al., 293). The second term is a will, which is a testament that is made by a party about the future. Pulling the plug refers to the termination of the life of Helen. As such, Helen had intimated that her life should be terminated is she permanently lacks awareness.
CED should not allow the provisions of the will to stand for various reasons. In this regard, the will was categorical that the plug should only be pulled if one of them went into the permanent vegetative state. However, in the current scenario, there are two lives, which are at stake; the live of Helen and that of the unborn baby. This, therefore, changes the circumstances, which makes the provisions of the will redundant (Datta, Rashmi, et al, 48). Specifically, if executing the will lead to the death of another person, then there is no need to pull the plug, as it will not only take the live of Helen but also that of the unborn baby. However, those opposing this view would base their arguments on whether or not taking the life the unborn baby should be considered an act of murder. However, they should understand that life begins at conception and not at birth.
The other reason as to why the CED should not allow Helens husband to pull the plug is due to the ethical considerations. In this regard, the major role of the medical practitioners is to protect life at all costs. As such, they are supposed to ensure that people do not lose their lives when they can be helped (Draper, Brian, et al., 78). In this regard, failing to protect the life of Helen and that of the unborn baby would amount to the abdication of their duties. Additionally, allowing her husband to pull the plug would amount to carelessness on the part of the medical practitioners. Notably, the professional ethic do not allow the doctors to oversee the termination of life of a patient on the basis that he/she is terminally ill.
CED should let Helen live as allowing her husband to terminate her life would amount to murder. In this regard, it will be the killing of two souls. One of the soul is innocent and has no idea about any particular will. From a religious point of view, life is sacred and only God has the prerogative of withdrawing life out of individuals. Therefore, by pulling the plug would mean usurping the power of God. Specifically, pulling the plug would amount to a loss of respect for the sanctity of life. Thou shall not kill is one of the moral imperatives that are included in the Ten Commandments. Specifically, Exodus 20:13 and Deuteronomy 5:17 make killing a moral sin. As such, the CED should protect Helen from any actions from her husband. Pulling the plug would be against the teachings of the Bible on the will of God. Indeed, the suffering that Helen will undergo might have a value according to the Christian religious teachings.
Pulling the trigger will set a bad precedence. In this regard, it will mean that the lives of people who have an unresponsive wakefulness syndrome are useless and should, therefore, be terminated. Additionally, it will mean that there are some lives, which are more useful and hence valuable than others. The net effect of this trend is that people would become lazy and hence fail to take care of their loved ones, as they will view pulling the plug as an easier option. CED should discourage the making of such wills, which might lead to murder (Somerville, Margaret, 4). Additionally, her husband might use this opportunity to further his selfish interests. As such, it is important, that all these possibilities are eliminated by disallowing Helens husband from terminating her life.
There are various opposite viewpoints on this present case. In this case, opponents will state that pulling the plug will be in the best interests of Helen as she is the one who attested to the will. However, it must be noted that at the time that the will was being written, she was normal and might not have contemplated how the situation will be in the future. As such, she might have changed her mind. Additionally, the presence of the unborn baby makes the matter complicated. As such, this argument should not be allowed not stand.
Opponents will also state that the cost of keeping Helen and the baby alive are very high. As such, the easier and cheap option would be to end their lives. However, they should consider what is at stake; the two lives. There is no way that the unborn baby can be saved without saving the mother. Additionally, the baby would also need a mother if he/she is born. In any case, the costs cannot be compared to the life of an individual.
To conclude, CED should not allow Helens husband to pull the plug, as this would be against their professional ethics on the protection of lives. Additionally, the provisions of the will are void, as the circumstances have changed. Specifically, there are two lives at stake as opposed to one life that Helen anticipated in the making of the will. In any case pulling the plug would be an affront to the sanctity of life and the thou shall not kill commandment. Although the costs of keeping Helen and her child alive are huge, the solution cannot be obtained by terminating the two lives. As such, CED should protect the life of Helen and that of the child.
"BBC - Ethics - Euthanasia: Anti-Euthanasia Arguments". Bbc.co.uk. N.p., 2016. Web. 27 June 2016. http://www.bbc.co.uk/ethics/euthanasia/against/against_1.shtml"Euthanasia And Assisted Suicide - Arguments - NHS Choices". Nhs.uk. N.p., 2016. Web. 27 June 2016.
Draper, Brian, et al. "Early dementia diagnosis and the risk of suicide and euthanasia." Alzheimer's & Dementia 6.1 (2010): 75-82.
Somerville, Margaret. Death talk: the case against euthanasia and physician-assisted suicide. McGill-Queen's Press-MQUP, 2014.
Monti, Martin M., Steven Laureys, and Adrian M. Owen. "The vegetative state." Bmj 341.c3765 (2010): 292-296.
Datta, Rashmi, et al. "End of life issues in the intensive care units." Medical Journal Armed Forces India 69.1 (2013): 48-53.
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