Euthanasia Essay, Research Paper
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Have Mercy For All, Lets Recognize Euthanasia
Euthanasia is one of the most controversial issues of our time. This diverse issue raises many questions such as: how should decisions be made, and by whom? What should be determined as a matter of law and what left a matter of discretion and judgment? Should those who want to die, or who are in a “persistent vegetative state”, be allowed to die voluntarily? Who should decide: the patient, the physician ,the courts, or the families? The pro-euthanasia arguments turn on the individual case of the patient in pain, suffering at the center of an intolerable existence. When life becomes unbearable, quick death can be the answer. If living persons become so ill that they cannot tolerate the pain, they have a right to die to an escape from torment. So long as the right to die means not prolonging the life by undesirable treatment, it may be classified as rational suicide.
The term “euthanasia” means “good health” or “well dying”;it is derived from the Greek “eu” and “thanatos”. In its classical sense, it is a descriptive term referring to an easy death as opposed to agonizing or tormented dying. The concern to die well is as old as humanity itself, for the questions surrounding death belong to the essence of being human. In the article Saying What We Mean, David McCurdy says, “We should reject a definition of euthanasia that ignores the differences between those motivated by compassion and beneficence and those who would deny life-sustaining treatment for reasons of financial and social expediency”. This shows euthanasia is not preformed so someone can benefit financial, but it is used to end misery.
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Some very prominent people are making packs with friends or relatives that specify that either will help the other die when life becomes desperate from pain or tragic accident. Families and physicians feel a variety of powerful emotions when dealing with a patient dying a slow and agonizing death. Certainly they wish that the pain were relieved and that health restored; that the patient not die but go on living and sharing concerns and joys together. The decision to forgo life-sustaining treatment must surely be as hard as any that arises in a hospital or within a family. Principles to guide such a decision are elusive, because whenever the question arises, some of our most cherished values are in conflict. People believe in the value of life but it is not clear that all life has value no matter what. People believe that suffering should be reduced, but sometimes that means shortening life. People also believe that patients’ wishes should be respected, but that seems not always best for the patients. It is expected of doctors to be strong champions of life, but people fear their capacity to impose continuous life.
Even the best doctors, given all the pressures that they must bear, could benefit from more structured ways of remaining informed about how their efforts are viewed by their patients. Most doctors find themselves spending more time than ever before dealing with decisions they were never trained to make, decisions at the edge of life. He is uncomfortable when the issue turns from how to sustain a patient’s life to such questions as whether to stop providing nourishment, thereby, to end a patient’s life. It is strongly believed that physicians can play a positive role in the active euthanasia of mentally competent, terminally ill people who request assistance in ending their own lives. As James Rachels says in the article Active and Passive Euthanasia, “Being allowed to die can be slow and painful, whereas being given a lethal
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injection is quick and painless”. It is crucial that physicians who choose to help dying patients in this way should be free to do so without the fear of criminal prosecution. In the article Rising to the Occasion of Our Death, William May says, “It solves the problem of suffering by eliminating the sufferer”. The choices and challenges faced by today’s doctors, and the reality of their complex relationships with patients, peers, and social situations have left the Hippocratic oath behind.
It is hard to say that the family has the right to demand that the doctor pull the plug just because they thought the patient would never want to live like this. James Rachels states in the article Active and Passive Euthanasia, “Many people think that killing someone is morally worse than letting them die”. Despite their confused state, the family urges the physician to withhold the tube, thereby hastening death. The issue, quality of life, is perceived by the family: No one has the right to judge that another’s life is not worth living. The basic right to live should not be abridged because someone decides that someone else’s quality of life is too low. Once we base the right to live on ‘quality of life’ standards, there is no logical place to draw the line.
I believe the only people that should be able to preform these types of “suicide operations” should be licensed practicians. They should be required to take courses helping them deal with the situation. These courses could possibly help them learn the laws and the rights they would have as doctors when faced with these situations.
This also leaves the question of who is eligible for the operation? I believe only mentally competent patients should be allowed to be destroyed unless otherwise stated in a will by a person who is contained in a vegetative state. This could be the only way a person could be
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terminated by a licensed physician. It is not up to any one person to decide another persons value of life or if their life is worth living.
Many people disagree with euthanasia saying that it is immoral to kill someone and not letting them die naturally. Commonly people think of the killing off of another individual for profit benefits such as inheritance or life insurance, but this is not euthanasia. Euthanasia is for the soul purpose of relieving another persons pain and suffering by the means of terminating them. This is also a touchy issue for doctors because their purpose is to save lives by any means, so this topic could actually cost them their careers and/or jail time. That’s why euthanasia should be a commonly known process so that it could ease a lot of the stressful situations doctors are put in when faced with making decision between life and death.
Dying is not something any of us really look forward to, but it is a natural process that we can use to come to terms with ourselves. It is indeed our last chance to become our best selves. Few like pain and suffering, and only those who are profoundly religious can find meaning during this time. We try to ease human suffering when cure is not possible, and we provide structure for people in times of chaos. We need not view this inevitable part of the life cycle as evil.