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Medical Assistance in Dying (MAID) in Canada

The key ethical concern to discuss is autonomy

The aim of this paper is to explore the ethical considerations with a contemporary ethical issue that impacts nursing practice and to examine and critique how nursing can be involved in either perpetuating or addressing the ethics of the issue to promote social justice.

Please use three peer-reviewed journal articles from the ethics literature and additional sources to support your writing such as the CNO standards.

You are also be required to find one Canadian media source that demonstrated the public understanding of this issue.

The paper must use APA 6th edition formatting 8 pages length (including the references or title page).

Sample Paper 

Different nations across the globe have legalized medical assistance dying (MAID). Defines as physician-assisted death MAID has gained significant attention in the last decade. The legalization of MAID in the Netherlands was done in the year 2018. The legalization was also evident in Canada, Switzerland, Colombia, Luxembourg, and several states in the USA (Spence, Blanke, Keating & Taylor, 2017). In Canada, medical assistance dying was legalized in the year 2016, following the amendment of the Criminal Code Act that exempted physicians from engaging in assisted suicide (Beuthin, Bruce & Scaia, 2018). The changes made on the act indicated that physicians and nursing practitioners are allowed to provide MAID though they are bound by the laws of the land, codes of ethics, and professional standards of practice (Li et al., 2017). The issues of eligibility for MAID and ethical concerns has remained debatable overtime with different views being presented on the role of medical practitioners in MAID to assure adherence to the set code of ethics. This paper presents a discussion on the ethical issue of concern in MAID, focusing specifically on autonomy. Analysis of the ethical issue based on the utilitarianism theory of ethics, scholarly literature and media is also presented. The paper also explores the nursing role in MAID and the suitable ethical actions that need to be undertaken to resolve the issue of autonomy.

Ethical Concern: Autonomy

The major ethical issue of concern in medical assistance in dying is patient autonomy and respect for persons. Under the principle of autonomy, a patient is seen as a lone person capable of making a valid decision concerning his/her health (Spence, Blanke, Keating & Taylor, 2017). Patients have the ability to understand, discern and make a decision about the general course of their life and health without being coerced or bowing to undue pressures from others. These decisions can be made in accordance with the moral laws or individual values and preferences (Nuhn et al., 2018). Supporters of autonomy believe that patients have the right to make decisions concerning their health or life. On the contrary, detractors of autonomy see it as a claim used to avoid consideration of relevant health values or lower the clinical responsibility of health care practitioners.

Newer theories of autonomy, relational autonomy, have expanded the individualistic notion and the assertion that a person has the right to her health to include his/her relationships and social contexts. According to relational autonomy, individuals are likely to make decisions in the context of their families, society and other societal values, norms, and religion (Beuthin, Bruce & Scaia, 2018). The society has no moral obligation of making a decision concerning the life or health of an individual, including the decision for MAID. Rather, it is conceptualized that the autonomous person has a proper understanding of the available options and makes a choice in accordance with his/her values and preference. According to the ethics of autonomy, the eligibility or decision for MAID is personal and cannot be influenced by society or any other external party.