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Aja Riggs And The Ethics Of The Right To Die

2954 words - 12 pages

The case of Aja Riggs falls under the category of medical ethics. Medical ethics is defined by four fundamental principles or pillars. The first pillar is “respect for the autonomy of the patient.” This means that the patient must be completely informed of the details of their condition, as well as have complete freedom to make their own choice regarding a course of action.
The second is “promoting what is best for the patient.” This simply means that the actions of the doctors must be aimed at promoting the general welfare of the patient, usually pertaining to said patient’s health.
The third defining principle of medical ethics is to “do no harm.” This means that even though a treatment may advance the health of a patient and promote their own vitality, if it requires bodily harm, then the practice must not be undergone.
Finally, if resources are to become limited, the fourth principle states that the medical process must manifest “justice,” and all patients are to have access to similar care, no preferential treatment may occur. The justice principle also applies to those impacted by the decision made in medical ethics, it views not only the impact on the patient, but also those surrounding the patient, for example family.
Medical ethics cases include euthanasia, withdrawing treatment for fear of abuse, assisted suicide and abortion. Specifically, the case of Aja Riggs falls under the moral dilemma questioning the ability of patients to choose to be euthanized. Euthanasia is defined as “the act or practice of killing someone who is very sick or injured in order to prevent any more suffering.” Though, through this description, it seems to be a beneficial process, ending the pain of another, other aspects of the practice divert from virtue and morals.

The case relates and affects numerous people related to Aja Riggs, as the impact of her death if she was to be euthanized would severely alter the pattern of life for not only Aja, but her family and friends. The problem in this case is whether or not one has the freedom to choose to be euthanized. It asks if the suffering diminished from euthanasia is worth the life of the human, if no other outlet for the pain exists or can be found. There are two sides to the argument that are supported by numerous viewpoints.
The freedom to choose to be euthanized is one side of the argument. In this case, Aja Riggs, the patient, was pushing for what she wanted to be her right to be euthanized. This desire for the ability to be euthanized stems from the immense pain undergone from the “aggressive radiation and chemotherapy treatment.” Her want to escape the pain of the radiation appears to be logical, for if no cure to her advanced uterine cancer exists, there is no reason to object to a way to eliminate the pain. Reinforcement for the side supporting the possibility for being euthanized comes from the patient herself, as the allure for an escape from pain outweighs death. Another...

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