The Ethical Problem
Euthanasia or mercy killing to patients in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina was necessary since their help got cut short during the rescue mission. The struggle and stress patients were undergoing warranted them mercy killing. As a matter of fact, according to the news source by the third day with sanitation, water, and power to run medical equipment, diminishing food supplies; and temperatures rising up to 110 degrees meant that patients were suffering beyond what words can tell. This situation disturbed the caregiver leading them to contemplate about administering euthanasia.
In this disillusion, and disparity the convenient step to ease patients suffering was to apply euthanasia on them. Furthermore, the hospital got surrounded by flood water, which definitely means that the water got countermined; hence it was not safe for use. The abandonment of the sickest patients with staff to wait for help which was not forthcoming and they were left in those hospitals on their own. This situation got pathetic and dehumanizing since patients would no longer survive that kind of traumatizing tragedy. By the medical clinicians and nurses administering lethal doses of medication to a minimum 34 people in the aftermath of Katrina, meant saving them from pain and suffering. The law states this act a second degree murder which implies that they actually committed the murder.
In case of abandonment, the doctors and nurses should consider sparing patients live since their ethics advocate for life rescuing rather not administering lethal substances on the sickest patients. However, the situation at that time got critical, and the doctor and nurses acted compassionately. In addition, the hospital had lost the basic facilities such as lack of water, power, food and sanitation which are crucial elements of supporting life. The doctor’s choice of mercy killing was the only way out in rescuing the suffering patients. Source s of the News indicate that some doctors sympathizers such as DR. Pou’s attorney insisted that the nurses were not guilty of committing murder since they made efforts to ensure that patients got rescued (Raymond C, 2006).
However, rescue mission failed to offer complete rescue for patients who got left after the others were evacuated. Furthermore, some medical personnel in memorial hospital worked tirelessly for five days to save and evacuate patients and, therefore, none of them got abandoned for that matter. Derek Humphrey (author and journalist) founder of Hemlock Society and the president ERGO (The euthanasia research and guidance) suggested that his thoughts on euthanasia some times in the harsh world is justifiable. He argues that understanding the situation of the aftermath Katrina hurricane the best cure for those patients was to be seductive drugs that could sweep patients pain without causing pain or abnormal suffering. Euthanasia on the Katrina situation was necessary since the doctor and nurses did their level best to save patients, but the number of sickest patients left could not have survived the aftermath situation. The medical services available at that time possibly would not cater for patients needs for their recovery. As if not enough, when they lack the support they needed the clinicians did not abandon patients rather they supported them until the end. My position in this motion is that application of euthanasia was crucial to ease the pain and suffering patients underwent. Furthermore, as mentioned earlier the support facilitation requires at that time got so minimal and insufficient; hence euthanasia was appropriate for that purpose.
Raymond C (2006) Deaths of patients in Hurricane Katrina aftermath: Disaster casualties, mercy killing or murder. Retrieved on 12/9/1012 from http://dying.about.com/b/2006/09/18/follow-ups-on-deaths-ann-richards-memorial-daniel-smiths-second-autopsy.htm