Did Ms. Robaczynski kill Mr. Gessner
I believe that Robaczynski killed Mr. Gessner. I believe so since whatever she did does not relate to a case of mercy killing. The patient or the family members of the patient must be consulted before such proactive measures are made. Medical practitioners are required to discuss with the patient and family members the condition of the patient and the chances of survival. Many doctors are trained to determine prognosis. This is the expected time that a terminal patient is expected to live. The accuracy of such information is important in making end-of-life decisions. This information may be used by the patient or the family members to decide on whether to continue with medication or to stop treatment and allow the patient to die.
Ms. Robaczynski had the option of using CPR to attempt to resuscitate the patient. If resuscitation had worked, the nurse would have rightfully declared the patient dead. In addition to this, Ms. Robaczynski disconnected the respirator from the patient. This was intentional since a human being cannot live without air. When Mr. Gessner stopped breathing, this did not necessarily mean that he was dead. An individual can stop breathing and yet maintain a heartbeat. An individual can only be said to be dead if the respiratory and circulatory functions cease permanently. Robaczynski had not ascertained this fact. When the patient stopped breathing, she immediately disconnected the respirator eliminating any chances of survival.
Cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) may be used to successfully restart and maintain the functions of the heart and lungs. Robaczynski claims to have been acting in the best interest of the patient. However, no evidence points out that the patient had no desire to continue living. She claimed that the patient would have died anyway. If this were true, she would have waited for the patient to die naturally. Instead, she decided to end the life of Mr. Gessner. Ms. Robaczynski may have had an agenda behind her activities since she made sure that the individual would not have a supply of oxygen in case he was to gain consciousness.
Would it be different if Mr. Gessner had requested to be disconnected from the respirator?
I would view Ms. Robaczynski’s actions differently if Mr. Gessner had requested that the respirator be disconnected. This is because the patient has the right to refuse resuscitation. This is whereby a patient places a do-not-resuscitate (DNR) order. Practitioners have an ethical obligation to honor these orders. However, arguments against this exist. Some believe that such orders may be unnecessary if the practitioners believe that resuscitation would be beneficial (Guglielmo, 2002).
Ms. Robaczynski would have had the right to disconnect the respirator if this was the wish of the patient. Patients or their family members may assume that the patient’s condition may not be promising and that the individual has no chances of leading a healthy life again. In this case, they may request for medication or other life-extending procedures to be stopped. In other cases, the family members may notice that the patient is in constant pain and is suffering a lot. To relieve the patient of this pain and suffering, they may request for the same. Therefore, if the request had come from the patient, Ms. Robaczynski would have been performing her rightful duty.
Guglielmo, W. (2002). Assisted suicide? Pain control? Where’s the line? Medical Economics, 79(19), 48-59.