John Rowls Views on the Role of Family in the Dying Process
Based on John Rowls moral perspective it is evident that the family plays an important role in the dying process. The moral theory attempts to describe justice and equality within society. The theory is different from the rest in the sense that, any action or deed that impedes justice of fairness should remain as such in order to guarantee a just and fair society. Rowls argues for two fundamental principles. The first is the liberty principle, which indicates that within society everyone should be entitled to as many basic liberties and freedoms as possible as long as they do not infringe on those of other people. The second principle is the difference principle, which requires the utilization of social structures to benefit those in positions of least advantage.
Therefore, based on this second principle the role of family members is to help each other fight to the last breath and die out naturally. The main reason for this observation is that the difference principle seeks to ensure that social structures should aim towards protecting those who are disadvantaged, for example, a terminally ill patient. The family therefore has an obligation to sustain each others life by making decisions that prolong it. This should also be the case for family members suddenly rendered unproductive, or who fall victim to agonizing situations that leave them and the family suffering. The family should also offer the dying all the necessary support they need to have a comfortable transition in the dying process. This also supports the first liberty principle proposed by Rowls. The moral perspective requires that family members offer the dying rights such as dignity during the dying process.
John Rowls Views on Physician-Assisted Death
Based on Rowls perspective on the moral basis for any action it is possible to conclude that it could support physician-assisted death in dire circumstances. As discussed earlier, to establish the morality in society Rowls argues for the liberty and difference principles. Both principles can find use in examining the roles of the physician in context concerning the question of death and the morality surrounding the end of life.
According to Rowls perspective, the thinking and rationale behind a physicians decision-making should be line with the rights and liberties of the individual. This implies that individuals seeking physician-assisted deaths should have a right to do so as long as they do not infringe on the rights and liberties of others. In addition, the physicians position should be used to benefit those least advantaged. With respect to the physician profession, it is globally accepted that the role of a physician includes promotion of life and facilitation of quick recovery from illness and pain in particular. In other words, these are the duties of a physician. According to Rowls, the physician should utilize his or her position to benefit the individual seeking help.
From the Rowls perspective, physician-assisted death is morally correct and should be allowed since it provides the terminally ill with rights and liberties over their own lives. In addition, it also ensures that social systems such as healthcare institutions are to their advantage. Before ending the life of a suffering patient, physicians should ask themselves whether they are within their duty and if the decision would be universally applicable without bringing chaos in the society. Physicians are therefore expected to fulfill their duties while adhering to their moral obligations, as such, patients undergoing extreme pain and suffering should be allowed to choose death.
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