Sample Term Paper on Ethical Issues Pertaining To a Patient’s Right to Die


A patient’s right to die is usually denoted as death with dignity. The application of the Kurt Lewin Change management Model in this research study explains the means of changing the state of mind of health professionals and patients by creating inclination through unfreezing existing contemplations and enhancing encouragement for change. The acknowledgment of the motivations behind the patients following their rights to die is essential to generating a satisfactory palliative reaction to tackle the particular issues of pain and suffering that elicit the application of the right to die. Studies assert that the majority of palliative care nurses find unsuitable requests for assisted suicide typically emanating from pain and suffering that could be toned down through alternative methods. The Kurt Lewin Change management Model aids in the clarification of the best method of generating alterations to make sure that the life of everyone is respected and protected and not terminated, which will give assurance of quality care.

Keywords: Right to die, palliative care, The Kurt Lewin Change management Model


Ethical Issues Pertaining To a Patient’s Right to Die


A patient’s right to die is anchored in the conviction that the terminally ill are allowed to commit suicide, undergo assisted suicide, get voluntary euthanasia, or decline life-prolonging treatment where an illness could extend their suffering and possibly eventually die. It as well denotes the notion that an individual that is terminally ill ought to be permitted to take away his life prior death or rebuff the extension of his life by any way. A patient’s right to die is normally referred to as death with dignity (Printz, 2015). This issue was chosen to determine whether it is right, and who should be given, the right to die. The ethical implications of a patient’s right to die are argued to undervalue life. The ethical theory of teleology (consequentialism) is relevant to the patient’s right to die. The loss of a loved one due to the patient’s right to die will intensely affect family affiliations, relations involving patients and physicians, and the perceptions of fundamental ethical conduct. Attributable to much being at risk, more is necessary to prevent unwarranted deaths. With the application of the Kurt Lewin Change management Model, this research study discusses the means of changing the mind-set of health professionals and patients by creating readiness through unfreezing existing thoughts and enhancing incentive for change.

Interdisciplinary Impact of the Issue

The majority of nurses feel that the role of health professionals with respect to a patient’s right to die, for instance, the administration of euthanasia, entails more than just giving a deadly medicine. The care progression starts at the point that the patient issues an appeal for assisted suicide. Nurses at the palliative care unit feel that they play a considerable function in the course of this process, as their encounters teach them that the professional approach of the nurse could deter the patient from practicing their right to die. Such a professional approach involves nurses receiving the patients’ appeal for assisted suicide with receptiveness, thus taking the request sincerely instead of disregarding it or deeming it insignificant. It as well demands that nurses take the time to pay attention cautiously to the patients, with the purpose of finding the reasons behind their pursuing the right to die (ORI, n.d).

The recognition of the reasons behind the patients pursuing their rights to die is crucial to generating a sufficient palliative response to address the particular concerns of pain and suffering that trigger the appeal of the right to die. Studies affirm that most palliative care nurses find inappropriate requests for assisted suicide usually emanating from pain and suffering that could be assuaged through alternative means. In this regard, the nurses find that through giving palliative care options, many unsuitable appeals for assisted suicide are annulled, and inappropriate deaths are prevented. Therefore, some of the appeals are pursued ought of lack of knowledge, fear, and reasons prior to discussions with the health professionals, particularly the dread of what will occur later (Declaration of Helsinki, 2015). Openness usually offers some reprieve, ensuring the possibility of speaking concerning what is confidential, usually a cry for hope, yearning for assistance, and the fear of the unknown.

Attributable to their experiences in palliative care and their exceptional connection with patients, nurses see themselves as proficient people in the joint decision-making practices regarding the patients’ right to die, practices that mostly do not sufficiently engage the patient, members of the family, doctors, and nurses. It is therefore crucial to adequately involve all the stakeholders in the contribution to ensure collective investigation and discussion, instead of the ideas of a few resulting in instant action (International ethical guidelines for biomedical research involving human subjects, 2002). Nurses consider their role in the provision of appropriate consideration of the patient’s right to die to be founded on their actual encounters with individuals faced with the choice between living and dying. Through the provision of considered care, and the interactions with the patients, nurses usually create close affiliations with the patients and the members of their family, which develops a friendly positive reception of their conditions, worries, concerns, and explanation for wanting to die. Though nurses are exceptionally placed to function as vital informants, mediators, and specialists in the progression of judgment making, the eventual accountability for assisted suicide and other resolutions are left to doctors.

Nurses at the palliative care units deem the performance of the real action of assisted suicide the role of the doctor. They perceive their tasks in the carrying out of death with dignity as mainly supportive. They also have a feeling that their support is reasonable only if it abides by the desires of the patients and the readiness of the nurses (International compilation of human subject research protections, n.d.). Palliative care nurses are ready to reserve their personal passions with the purpose of satisfying the requirements of the patients in a specialized way. Moreover, nurses take dying to be a critical moment and a period that the patients cannot be left unaided. Though the implementation of lethal medications such as euthanasia in death with dignity is a medical practice, the predominance of physicians in the health procedure could certainly have led to such a conviction.

Despite their minimal involvement in the implementation of assisted suicide, nurses have several explanations regarding their reluctance to embark on the task (Math & Chaturvedi, 2012). Amid the ethical explanations for the reluctance were the irreversible nature of the process and uncertainties concerning the proper guiding principle. Interests regarding the possible influence on the comprehension and psychological resistance to executing the patient’s right to die were personal and emotional justifications. Studies affirm that nurses consider that philosophically conforming to assisted suicide is incredibly dissimilar from keenly executing it. A different potential explanation for the reluctance of nurses to execute the fatal medication is that they might deem doing it altering the extent of patient-nurse affiliation. Though a huge fraction of palliative care nurses surveyed in different research studies has been requested by patients to administer the lethal medication, no nurse actively seek to grant such appeals.

Nurses have the responsibility of caring for the terminally ill and cope with the family members of the patients for a long period and more strongly when judged against other caregivers (Math & Chaturvedi, 2012). Different researchers, in addition to undependable encounters, demonstrate that nurses are seldom engaged in the care progression surrounding patients’ right to die. Though nurses across the globe are faced with the requests to execute assisted suicide from the patients, their views are infrequently taken into deliberation when making decisions. To build up apparent strategies on the task of nurses when it comes to implementing patients’ right to die, it is fundamental to completely mull over the perspective of nurses at the palliative care unit, with respect to their everyday relations with patients at the end-of-life care and their proficiency in the provision of care. Studies strongly affirm that handling the terminally ill patients makes sure that nurses generate a view regarding their contribution in the patients’ right to die. Regardless of the professionalism and experience of nurses, their opinions on this timely and crucial subject need to be studied in detail.

Suggested Change

The people are against the practices of allowing the implementation of a patient’s right to die, state that the society has the ethical responsibility to guard and care for every life (Ethics and health, 2015). Permitting some people to help others in terminating their lives infringes the essential obligation of valuing human life. Any society that is dedicated to protecting life of the people is not supposed to permit people to devastate it. The ethical theory of teleology (consequentialism) acts as the philosophical perception that the ethical value of an activity is to be evaluated on its outcomes, instead of the task itself. On this note, a patient’s right to die ought to greatly be disregarded as it could result in unnecessary loss of life and loved one. All societies have a responsibility of opposing directives that present a risk to the life of an innocent individual; all regulations that allow assisted suicide inevitable issue such hazards. Were a patient’s right to die be executed based on sympathy or pity, what will bar people from contributing in and possibly actively influencing, the killing of any person whose life is considered valueless or objectionable?

What will prevent the troubled family members of a terminally ill patient from encouraging him/her to willingly appeal for the administration of euthanasia? What will protect the life of persons who, after signing an appeal for assisted suicide, later have a contrary decision, but, attributable to their condition, are not in a position of making their choice identified? The moment the life of one person is devalued, all lives are at risk. Who will safeguard the lives of the critically handicapped children or the doddery women? Studies affirm that allowing assisted suicide may lead to the abuse of the right of other people. Nurses and physicians might find that they are under pressure to help in terminating the lives of patients (Math & Chaturvedi, 2012). To gratify the wishes of people wanting assisted suicide, all health professionals, critically ill patients, and their family members, ought to be educated on developing optimism and putting efforts to address any pain or suffering with no loss of life.

The Kurt Lewin Change management Model assists in the explanation of the best way of generating transformations in the health care to make sure that the life of all is valued and protected and not terminated, which will guarantee excellence of care. The Kurt Lewin Change management Model could be employed in health institutions of health institutions with the incorporation of patients, family members, societies, nurses, and all stakeholders in the protection of life. It will be critical to be considerate, vigilant, and specific to make sure that there is improvement of the quality of care and transforming the approaches of patients towards care (Printz, 2015).

            The first segment of change (Unfreezing) will last for two months and will involve the preparation of the caregivers to appreciate that change is fundamental, which will require transforming the current condition before the progress of the fresh form of function. The breakdown evaluating the authenticity of requests for assisted suicide leads to unwarranted loss of life, which degrades the quality and outcome of care for the terminally ill. If not addressed, a patient’s right to die could lead to improper loss of life, decreased reaction to treatment, adverse medical behaviors, and augmented health costs (Printz, 2015).

            Attributable to the vagueness emanating from the unfreeze phase, health professionals will determine the need for transformation in the change phase and develop new approaches of offering care to the terminally ill devoid of terminating life. Lastly, the refreeze phase necessitates making sure that the changes are employed and a patient’s right to die is only executed when there is no other better alternative. This approach will guarantee quality care and cooperation amid health professionals, patients, and the family members. Resistance to the suggested change may emanate from affirmations of plea for sympathy and support for the people in deep pain and suffering (Math & Chaturvedi, 2012).


Patients’ right to die is rooted in the certainty that the terminally ill are permitted to commit suicide, go through assisted suicide, get intended euthanasia, or refuse life-prolonging treatment where an infirmity could lengthen their suffering and perhaps result in their death. The application of the Kurt Lewin Change management Model illustrates the means of altering the approach of health professionals and patients by creating willingness through unfreezing existing considerations and enhancing inducement for change. The Kurt Lewin Change management Model requires making sure that the modifications are employed and assisted suicide is only performed when there is no better option left.



Declaration of Helsinki. (2015).

Ethics and health. (2015).

International compilation of human subject research protections. (n.d.).

International ethical guidelines for biomedical research involving human subjects. (2002).

Math, S. B., & Chaturvedi, S. K. (2012). Euthanasia: Right to life vs right to die. The Indian journal of medical research, 136(6), 899.

ORI. (n.d).

Printz, C. (2015). Death with dignity: Young patient with brain tumor puts a face on the right‐to‐die movement. Cancer, 121(5), 641-643.