Patient Rights: Case Study – DAX

Patient Rights: Case Study – DAX
            Many research articles about the patients’ rights have often used terms like "a good death", "physician-assisted suicide", "mercy killing", and "assistance in dying" to explain the concept of euthanasia. In this relation, Dax Cowart's demand to die provides a hard choice and difficult case that either establishes or destroys theories about what is correct, best, or honest about the patient’s rights. Difficult cases in ethics are propagated by rude realities, confusing feelings and varied standpoints. Whereas, physicians, researchers or academic writers may use different terms or phrases to describe "a good death", they have failed to precisely inform the public that unintentional euthanasia is nothing but an act of murder.

            Dax Cowart continued with his normal life without any physical challenge until the propane gas explosion harshly injured and handicapped him forcing him into hospitalization. On various occasions when he was being taken to the hospital, Cowart was determined to die by requesting the farmer who came to his rescue to give him a gun to end his life outright or delay the ambulance so that he would not be taken to the hospital. His instincts were clear that he wanted to die, but not to experience a long and painful experience at the hospital. Upon arriving at the hospital, he never gave up his quest and asked the nurse to give him an injection that would end his life.  Nobody paid attention to his sentiments including the doctors and his mother. Contrary, his mother signed a consent form for surgery which the doctors honored and performed surgery to him (Munson, 2008).  Dax protest never ended after the surgery, but throughout the rehabilitation process he always pleaded to be killed. After he got better from the rehabilitation process, Cowart claimed that the major reason why he wished to die was because the pain during the rehabilitation process was unbearable. Interestingly, the fact that the process gave him another chance to enjoy life, Cow art still argues that it is the right of every person to decide and choose what can be done to his or her body. Here, he emphasizes on the fact that patients rights are autonomous and, therefore, should never be compromised because the ideal decision is that which is given by the patient on what ought to be done on his body (Kliever, 1989).

            The case of Cowart has revealed that the doctors ignored giving him pain relieving medication that would have subsequently reduced his quest to die because of pain. Nonetheless, this medication would have reduced the opinion held by Dax regarding patient rights because it would have satisfied his desire of what should be done to his body (Pence, 2008) Based on the real citation on the ground, Cowart perceived the stand about patient’s rights can be refuted. Firstly, consider the fact that he was brought to the hospital by ambulance in a very critical condition. Therefore, following the ethical point of view regarding their profession, the doctors had no other opportunity than doing what they had been trained to do to save Dax life. The ethical dilemma here is whether indeed doctors should just consider the side of saving life alone or visa-a-vis. On the contrary, the medical training is aimed at nothing but saving life. Therefore, doctors cannot be blamed for performing their ethical duty as required. This gives the doctors a clean bill of ethical action because they were doing the correct thing especially when some other patients in similar condition as that of Dax have recovered successfully (Kliever, 1989).

            In another perception, the patients present themselves to the doctors; not the doctors to patient. In such scenario, it implies that the patients give autonomy to the doctor for his important role when they are in that condition. On an ethical point of view, the doctor is required in consultation with the patient present what the remedy should be and what is his opinion about the same. This gives the patient an opportunity to either agree or disagree with what is presented by patient. However, the doctor has an extended obligation to assess why the patient holds that view and give room for further consultations on any suggestion presented on medical grounds. In the case of Dax, this was not the case because Dax was never given any humble time to deliberate ion his decision which was simply a painful condition (Munson, 2008).

            In the position of a judge, I would allow people in a similar condition like that of Dax to die. My decision is informed by the manner in which people perceive death as either bad or good, but it ought to be based on the prevailing condition. During that time when Cowart was requesting for death, his opinion about death was that it was not bad, but rather just a process that would relieve him of the unbearable pain. On the other side, the doctors have the right to treat him if they per 


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