Aja Riggs and the Ethics of the Right To Die

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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 pr...

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...best solution is the Kantian decision.

Works Cited

University of Ottawa, “Basic Ethical Principles.” Last modified March 14, 2012

Accessed March 7, 2014. http://www.med.uottawa.ca/sim/data/Ethics_e.htm.

Merriam-Webster. 2011. s.v. "Euthanasia." http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/euthanasia (accessed March 6, 2014).

USCCB, "Catechism of the Catholic Church." Accessed March 7, 2014. http://www.usccb.org/beliefs-and-teachings/what-we-believe/catechism/catechism-of-the-catholic-church/.

Bryan, Susan. "NM Ruling Will Allow Doctors to Help Patients Die." Santa Fe New Mexican, January 14, 2014.

Longtin, Lucien, and Andrew Peach. An Introduction to Catholic Ethics. Washington, DC: National Catholic Education Associaton, 2003.

The Holy Bible: New International Version. http://www.biblegateway.com/ (accessed March 7, 2014).

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