Ethics is a very important topic in research. For this discussion board I want you to talk about an ethical dilemma in health care. I will let you pick the topic but I will also give you some suggestions below. I want you to talk about the four pillars of ethics autonomy, beneficence, non-malfeasance, and justice. Please make sure to support your thoughts with .  These topic that may divide students as you each may have strong opinions. Just make sure to


Ethics play a fundamental role in the field of healthcare, as decisions made in this area can greatly impact individuals’ lives and well-being. In this discussion, we will explore an ethical dilemma in healthcare and analyze it through the lens of the four pillars of ethics: autonomy, beneficence, non-maleficence, and justice. These pillars serve as guiding principles in ethical decision-making and are essential in navigating the complexities of healthcare dilemmas.

Ethical Dilemma: Assisted Suicide

One ethical dilemma that often divides opinions in the healthcare field is regarding assisted suicide. Assisted suicide refers to the act of intentionally helping a person take their own life, typically when they are suffering from a terminal illness and experiencing extreme pain that cannot be adequately managed. While legal and ethical perspectives on this issue may vary across different jurisdictions, it remains a contentious topic that raises questions about patient autonomy, beneficence, non-maleficence, and justice.


Autonomy, often referred to as the respect for individual autonomy, is one of the pillars of ethics. It recognizes an individual’s right to make decisions about their own life, including decisions about their own death. The principle of autonomy suggests that competent individuals have the right to refuse life-sustaining treatments and make decisions regarding their own well-being.

In the case of assisted suicide, proponents argue that respecting an individual’s autonomy allows them to make choices that align with their personal values and beliefs. They maintain that terminally ill patients who are experiencing unbearable suffering should have the right to decide when and how to end their lives. By allowing assisted suicide, the principle of autonomy is upheld, as it enables patients to have control over their own destiny.


Beneficence refers to the ethical principle of promoting and acting in the best interest of others. In the context of healthcare, this pillar emphasizes the moral obligation of healthcare professionals to provide care and interventions that aim to benefit the patient’s health and well-being.

In the case of assisted suicide, the principle of beneficence can be seen as conflicting. Opponents argue that assisting in ending a patient’s life goes against the principle of beneficence, as it directly involves actions that cause harm. They believe that healthcare professionals should focus on providing palliative care, pain management, and psychological support to ensure the best possible care and comfort for the patient in their remaining days.


Non-maleficence, also known as the principle of “do no harm,” is closely related to beneficence. It emphasizes the duty of healthcare professionals to avoid causing harm to patients and to minimize the risks associated with interventions.

In the case of assisted suicide, the principle of non-maleficence raises concerns about the potential for abuse and the unintended consequences of the practice. Opponents argue that the possibility of misdiagnosis or cases where curable treatments may still be available can lead to irreversible consequences. They assert that the potential harm caused by assisted suicide outweighs the benefits it may offer, as it compromises the sacred trust between healthcare professionals and patients.


Justice, as the final pillar of ethics, emphasizes fairness and equality in the distribution of resources, opportunities, and healthcare services. In the context of assisted suicide, the principle of justice raises questions about equal access to end-of-life options and the potential for creating disparities in healthcare.

Proponents argue that denying terminally ill patients the option of assisted suicide infringes upon the principle of justice. They claim that due to various factors such as financial constraints and limited access to palliative care, not all individuals have an equitable opportunity to experience a comfortable and dignified death. By legalizing assisted suicide, proponents argue that justice is upheld by ensuring equal access to end-of-life options for all individuals.


The ethical dilemma of assisted suicide in healthcare raises complex considerations in relation to autonomy, beneficence, non-maleficence, and justice. While the principles of autonomy and justice can be seen as supporting the provision of assisted suicide, opponents emphasize the potential conflicts with beneficence and non-maleficence. The discussions surrounding these pillars of ethics in the context of assisted suicide demonstrate the multidimensional nature of ethical dilemmas in healthcare.