Legal, Ethical and Moral Issues Facing Nurses in Cases of Patient-Requested Suicide


Suicide, whether assisted, unassisted, or aided, is a common issue affecting practitioners in nursing, clinical and biomedical fields (Bandman & Bandman, 2012). Although physician or nurse-assisted suicide has been the major topic of debate as far as ethical, moral, and legal aspects are concerned, nurses are increasingly encountering the same problems, especially those providing end-of-life care. In the case discussed in this paper, the nurse is aware that the patient wants to commit suicide. In addition, the patient requests the nurse to let her commit suicide without the knowledge of her family. Therefore, this amounts to nurse-aided death, which attracts a number of ethical, legal, and moral issues in nursing.

Ethical, moral, and legal issues of nurse-aided suicide

Legal issue

Under the current law, suicide is not a crime. Nevertheless, aiding or assisting an individual to die or failing to take action when one is aware that a person wants to commit suicide is a crime (Bandman & Bandman, 2012). The legalization of aided or assisted suicide is based on the notion that every person has the moral right to choose death, provided the person does not cause harm to other people (Nathaniel, 2006). This means that it is the right of the patient to choose death. Thus, as a nurse, I am supposed to respect my patient’s right to choose death.

Ethical and Moral issues

The patient is one of the millions of people lying in hospitals due to painful and terminal diseases or conditions, which leaves them permanently incapacitated and lacking human dignity (Bandman & Bandman, 2012). The only way to relieve suffering from the patient is to let the patient die. In addition, my inability to respect the patient’s decision is both inhumane and cruel. Ethically, compassion demands that I cooperate and comply with her request (Fletcher & Holt, 2011).

However, it is worth noting that society has a moral duty to respect, save and preserve human life at all costs. Allowing people to commit suicide is an act that violates society’s fundamental duty of respecting and preserving life. Therefore, society does not commission the nurse to destroy the precious life of any of its members (Fletcher & Holt, 2011).

Thirdly, even if there is a legal basis to justify my action of allowing the patient to commit suicide, it is unethical because the patient has not consulted her family members. In particular, the nurse should inform the patient’s family. On the other hand, the patient is aware that her family will not allow her to commit suicide, yet it is the only way to end her suffering.


As a nurse, I will be facing moral and ethical dilemmas because I need to respect my patient’s decisions. On the other hand, I will be obliged to inform the members of the family before allowing her to commit suicide. It is my duty to protect human life, but it is also my duty to respect the will of my patient. Moreover, it is my legal responsibility to ensure that I do not assist the patient to commit suicide. I should also not fail to take any action that would preserve her life. Therefore, the most appropriate decision is to summon the trusted family members and hold a thorough discussion in order to find the best solution.


Bandman, E. & Bandman, B. (2012). Nursing Ethics Through the Life Span. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice-Hall.

Fletcher, N., & Holt, J. (2011). Ethics, Law and Nursing. New York: OUP.

Nathaniel, A.K. (2006). Moral reckoning in nursing. Western Journal of Nursing Research, 28(4), 419-438.

Calculate the price
Make an order in advance and get the best price
Pages (550 words)
*Price with a welcome 15% discount applied.
Pro tip: If you want to save more money and pay the lowest price, you need to set a more extended deadline.
We know how difficult it is to be a student these days. That's why our prices are one of the most affordable on the market, and there are no hidden fees.

Instead, we offer bonuses, discounts, and free services to make your experience outstanding.
How it works
Receive a 100% original paper that will pass Turnitin from a top essay writing service
step 1
Upload your instructions
Fill out the order form and provide paper details. You can even attach screenshots or add additional instructions later. If something is not clear or missing, the writer will contact you for clarification.
Pro service tips
How to get the most out of your experience with Online Academic Experts
One writer throughout the entire course
If you like the writer, you can hire them again. Just copy & paste their ID on the order form ("Preferred Writer's ID" field). This way, your vocabulary will be uniform, and the writer will be aware of your needs.
The same paper from different writers
You can order essay or any other work from two different writers to choose the best one or give another version to a friend. This can be done through the add-on "Same paper from another writer."
Copy of sources used by the writer
Our college essay writers work with ScienceDirect and other databases. They can send you articles or materials used in PDF or through screenshots. Just tick the "Copy of sources" field on the order form.
See why 20k+ students have chosen us as their sole writing assistance provider
Check out the latest reviews and opinions submitted by real customers worldwide and make an informed decision.
Customer 453057, May 23rd, 2022
Emergency Management
Overall, I think it's a great service. I have yet to submit the assignment, so I don't know what kind of grade I'll get. But customer service was excellent. Reviews were made and the assignment proofed for satisfaction.
Customer 453015, December 15th, 2021
Professions and Applied Sciences
Thanks. This helps a lot. Was a bit late but some cushion was given.
Customer 453015, February 10th, 2022
It was gotten well after time I needed to make needed additions, but it is something that did help me. I could not get the concept of ho to start such a project but now reading this, I was over thinking the project it seems.
Customer 452801, July 19th, 2021
Criminal Justice
This has been the greatest help while I am recovering from an illness. Thank your team so much.
Customer 452671, May 2nd, 2021
Human Resources Management (HRM)
I finished the first deliverable of a project presentation but had no time to finish my second deliverable. The writer revamped my first deliverable and made it much more appealing! Not only was I impressed with the content but I was so grateful for the time they took to redo the background. I have been under a lot of pressure at work and at home so this has been a great service when I have had little time! I appreciate the detail and help! Always on time and always exceeding expectations!
Customer 453077, April 5th, 2022
Very fast response and did a excellent job.
Customer 453201, May 31st, 2022
Usually, references need to be within the past 5 years. Thank you :)
Customer 452547, July 16th, 2021
IT, Web
Awesome paper in such a short amount of time. Was in a jam with another service who didn't deliver, but Theresa did the job correctly. I will use her again to do my essays for sure!
Customer 452967, November 27th, 2021
I just need some minor alterations. Thanks.
Customer 452547, February 10th, 2021
thank you!
Customer 452947, October 21st, 2021
English 101
IThank you
Customer 452631, April 6th, 2021
Customer reviews in total
Current satisfaction rate
3 pages
Average paper length
Customers referred by a friend
15% OFF your first order
Use a coupon FIRST15 and enjoy expert help with any task at the most affordable price.
Claim my 15% OFF Order in Chat
Live ChatWhatsApp