My Vegetable Family Member

by x3Blind on February 10, 2015 - 1:09pm

            Most parents have told their kids that vegetables are good for them. However, what would happen if your grand-father or a family member was a person only being able to live off of life sustaining therapy in a vegetable state? Many physicians and family members often struggle to decide whether to pull the plug or not of the patient, knowing full well he or she cannot live without the help of machinery. What exactly is the “moral” decision? Should you simply end the patient’s life? Should you keep him or her alive and see what happens next? Many physicians and family members struggle with questions such as those to decide whether to pull the plug or not of the patient, knowing full well that he or she cannot live without machinery.

            Physicians and family members could justify that it is best to keep the patient alive because it is the “moral” decision to do at the time. By the use of deontological ethics: the ethical theory which makes one ethical when following maxims or rules (Merrill 25), it can be argued that it is morally just and right to preserve the patient’s life and that is it unethical to pull the plug of the patient because it can be considered murder and thus be violating a supreme maxim, such as one of the Ten Commandments of Christianity. The decision makers can argue that they feel a duty (Merrill 25) to keep the patient in a vegetable state because it is a murder act to let him or her die by removing the life support therapy and because it is morally just to preserve human life. Also, by using the sub-theory of deontology: Religious Morality, which states that anything “morally wrong” is forbidden by God (Merrill 31), it can be argued that pulling the plug is murder which is simply forbidden by God.

            The doctor and the patient’s relatives may also defend that they should pull the plug, in other words, let him or her die. By the usage of teleological ethics: the ethical theory which states that one should get the best outcome by any means (Merrill 25), they could argue that no matter what happens, the patient will die. The patient will end up dead anyway. Since he or she will die in any case, one may argue to simply end it now better than later. From the sub-theory of teleology: Utilitarianism, which states that any action can be made to maximize happiness for the most amount of people (Merrill 35), physicians and family members can also argue that letting him or her die, will unburden everyone from the suffering image of seeing the patient in a vegetable state and the possibility of very expensive treatments.

            A solution to this moral dilemma is a vote between the deciding members. Both teleological and deontological point of views have their ups and downs and one can never say that one is better than the other. Everyone has different point of views because nobody is exactly identical mentally. Therefore, a solution would be for everyone who has a right in the matter such as the physician and the family members of the patient, to vote on which action should be done. Not everybody will be happy but democracy has power and those who voted against the majority vote would simply have to accept it. 


Works Cited

Merrill, C. John. “Theoretical Foundations for Media Ethics”. Media Ethics: Media Ethics Course Package. Ed.                      Sarah Waurechen. Eastman: Montreal, 2015. 17-46. Print.

About the author