End of Life Decisiions

Many families have, or will soon have to make a decision regarding the treatment of an elderly loved one or another family member riddled with a deadly disease. Or perhaps, they have already had to make a decision involving the care and/or treatment of a family member. Sadly, many people refuse to acknowledge that a parent may be living in the final few years of their physical life or that some close family member is reaching the end of treatment for a terminal illness. Usually, if plans are made in advance, then the choices have already been made for them and all they have to do is carry out the loved ones final requests. In order to make ethical decisions involving our elderly population at the final stage of life and the terminally ill, we must examine the alternatives involved and strategies necessary to make moral end of life decisions so that we have peace of mind while easing their suffering.          

    As stated in our text there are three traditional theories that have a long history to provide a great deal of guidance in struggling with moral problems. Generally, people will use one of these theories to guide them when they make a decision involving a terminally ill loved one. The three theories,   utilitarianism, which evaluates a moral act on the basis of whether it produces the greatest amount of good for the greatest number given the available options, deontology, which employs rules whether a guideline such as the Golden Rule or more complex directives about respecting others and being able to universalize the act in question, whether the act is moral or not and virtue ethics, which focuses on the character of the person in evaluating morality – often it is impossible to prepare to discuss a natter in advance and then a hasty decision must generally be made and the outcome sometimes is not the desired outcome.
    Every living soul will face death at one point or another. For those unfortunate to face the end of life in pain and...