Euthanasia Essay, Research Paper
When most people think of euthanasia, they think merely of death. Death usually has a negative connotation to it although often times it may be beneficial. This understanding is fundamental to euthanasia. The roots words for euthanasia, eu and thantos, mean good and death respectively (Humphrey Dying With Dignity 80). This good death is often attacked by people whose ideas are shaped by religion, media, and misinformation. In reality, euthanasia provides a way for humans in unbearable and incurable situations to be relieved of their afflictions. Because of its current illegality, many people suffer, rendering them corpses of humiliation that are unable to receive the treatment that the average household pet receives. The legalization and acceptance of euthanasia would benefit humanity.
Legalizing euthanasia would be a turn for the better. Once it was legalized, euthanasia would come out into the open and be an official medical procedure. As is the case with most medical procedures, a set of standards and guidelines would be created. If the actions taken by the physician towards the patient are to be distinct, it is obvious that these must be covered (Lemonick 82). Dr. Howard Grossman also agrees that there must be clear guidelines (Lemonick 82). Even though it is apparent that many people would die, it is perhaps not so apparent that, …legalization will lengthen the life for many (Humphrey Dying With Dignity 70). As the founder and executive director of the Hemlock Society (America s largest euthanasia society), Derek Humphrey has often experienced scenarios where because of a fear of loss of control in later life due to the current illegality of euthanasia, people killed themselves (Humphrey Dying With Dignity 70). To help reduce this risk of unneeded deaths, a set of parameters will be made that the patient must adhere too. The Hemlock Society has devised a set of parameters that they feel will eliminate unneeded deaths and let only those for whom death is really needed receive it. The parameters include: being a mature adult , being of sound mind and not rashly deciding, seeking proper medical treatment first, explain motives at least in writing, having a will , informing current physician of decision, and that the patient does not involve others in criminal liability (Humphrey Dying With Dignity 80-82).
Another way to ensure that euthanasia is a proper medical procedure is to make sure that all alternatives are looked into. Since doctors are consulted secretively and in the strictest confidence, it is often times impossible for the doctor to search for other options. With the legalization of euthanasia, doctors would no longer keep all thought to themselves, but could openly consult each other and search for the best ultimate solution, be it euthanasia or not (Voas E7).
Derek Humphrey also points out that not all doctors would be required to perform euthanasia (10A). As is currently the case with abortion, patients can ask their doctors for treatment, but no doctor is obliged to say yes.
Not only are the patients affected, but so is the patient s family, and society in general. The author of the book, I Cried, but Not for Irma , tells of watching his wife of almost fifty years lay comatose in the, …hospital with tubes attached to almost every orifice of her body. As he viewed the one he loved so much, ..he felt anger at the indignity of her death. He wept, not because she was dead, but because of the manner of her dying. She had lost all humanity, and was now a wilting hunk flesh in the state of prolonged death (Bernards 151-152).
With legalization, people will be able to search in the open, and not in the shadows of the law. Family members will not be afraid of punishment for employing the means to end the unbearable lives of loved ones (Bernards 153). People will have the comforting assurance that in the future, if they ever become terminally ill, they may choose euthanasia instead of an insufferable life. People would no longer be compelled to storing, …lethal amounts of drugs because they fear a bad death (Humphrey Dying With Dignity 69). Instead, these people will find refuge in the knowledge that legal, physician-aided help is accessible.
Freedom of choice is a basic right to all people, yet today people are unable to choose to have their unendurable life terminated. The choice to continue to live in pain or to die and end the suffering will be available with the legalizing of euthanasia (Bernards 153). By making euthanasia legal, the human race can improve itself.