Euthansia Essay, Research Paper
Euthanasia is often called ?mercy killing?. It is intentionally making someone die, rather than allowing that person to die naturally. It is sometimes the act of ending someone?s life, who is terminally ill, or is suffering in severe pain. Euthanasia is mostly illegal in the world today. Euthanasia can be considered a form of suicide, if the person afflicted with the problem actively does it. The person volunteering to commit the act to that person can also consider it a form of murder.
The positive side of Euthanasia is that it ends a person?s suffering in this world. Many physicians and psychiatrists believe that it may a humane act. From a virtue ethics point of view, it may be appropriate. What we seek in human existence is to be happy, and find happiness. Suffering from a terminal illness, or affliction, could inhibit one?s happiness in life. If the goal is to be happy, then Euthanasia would be an answer for this person. Euthanasia may even bring about happiness in that it is what the person desires and wants, in order to no longer to be a burden to his/her family. Also, Euthanasia would stop the pain and not prolong the dying process.
In the utilitarian point of view we all have a duty to our happiness, and a duty to the society. Euthanizing a person based on the society aspect makes sense. With greater and greater emphasis put on managed care today, many doctors are at a financial risk when they provide treatments to patients who are in the dying process. These patients may also feel like not becoming a burden to the society at large, and choose to fulfill a duty ? Euthanasia. If the person is in a coma or is brain dead, that person is no use to himself or herself, or society anymore. Euthanasia is a viable method to end an otherwise futile attempt at recovery.
The family of the person being euthanized may not want their family members in pain ? to suffer. It can be a family duty to do the right thing for the person and society. Depression, family conflict, feelings of abandonment, and hopelessness, are emotional burdens on family members seeing a person suffer. Committing euthanasia may be the humane act to do for the afflicted family member in this case.
The euthanized person may even be of use to society in a utilitarian manner, if his/her bodily organs are to promote the welfare of others, one life saves the lives of others. This may even be considered a virtuous acts, and possibly even altruistic in it not being of self-interest. It is the betterment of his/her fellow human kind in helping others in one final gracious act. The benefits are numerous in that the person euthanized would cease suffering, and the families would begin the healing process from grief and/or depression from the situation.
From Mill?s perspective, the person volunteering for euthanasia has a liberty to do what he/she wants. Mill has written that if the person does not cause harm to others, it is the person?s right, or liberty, to do what they please. If a person wants euthanasia, then that person has the sole liberties to choose such an act, and depart society and life. Nobody is being other than the person wishing it, and it is a volunteered act.
Brandt argues for approval of euthanasia, but killing human beings is wrong, because it injures that person and goes against the preferences of self-preservation. However, Brandt says that the above is not present in the issue of euthanasia, so it may be permissible. Brandt says that not all killing is injury, so not all killing is wrong. One should pay attention to one?s expressed wishes he says. Euthanasia could be considered doing a person a favor, because you cannot injure something if you are relieving it of pain.
The negative side of euthanasia is that it goes against natural law ethics, because we do not let nature take its course. We are disturbing what is occurring or happening naturally to the person. Every person has a natural inclination to continue living. It is also said that euthanasia denies us the dignity of dying like human beings.
If euthanasia were to become legal, it would form a downward spiral of society. For example, euthanasia would be self-inflicted by the individual, and then it would be administered and inflicted by others. Then others who simply have knowledge of the situation would administer the euthanasia. Finally, anyone would have an involvement in the euthanasia process making a decision to end a person?s existence. If a person?s life is deemed less valuable than another?s life, then euthanasia may rage out of control. People simply deemed unworthy or invaluable of living would be extinguished, and that may lead to genocide.
Euthanasia goes against the six prima facie duties. There can be no duty of self-improvement if you prematurely end you existence. By not allowing yourself to die naturally, you deny yourself the final stages of growth in the dying process ? denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. Dr. Kubler-Ross, a psychiatrist, says that patients grow in the final stages, and finish all unfinished business. To administer euthanasia would deny a person this growth needed.
Suicide is a tragic, individual act. Euthanasia is not about a private act. It is about letting a person facilitate the death of another. This can be a very public concern since it can lead to tremendous abuse for the most vulnerable people around us. If euthanasia were to become law, the law would not give rights to the person who dies, but to the person doing the killing. In other words, euthanasia is not about a right to dies, it is a about a right to kill. Thus, if assisting suicide for those with terminal illness is legalized, the so-called ?right to die? is very likely in practice to become a ?duty to die?.
The Kantian perspective is that you cannot go against perfect duties, even in society. According to the categorical imperative, if you act on a maxim which one can will to become a universal law then it can become law. If euthanasia were to become a standard act, it would be a common law. Another part of the categorical imperative is to act in such a way that you always treat humanity as an end never as a means. Treat humanity always at the same time as an end. All rational beings and persons are in themselves ends, and have infinite/absolute worth. Human beings would them have value, and euthanasia is a way not to always treat a person as an end.
I believe euthanasia is wrong. USA Today reported that among older people suffering from terminal illness who attempt euthanasia/suicide, the number suffering from depression reaches almost 90%. Many people consider euthanasia/suicide primarily because they are pressured into seeing themselves as burdens on their families and society.
Euthanasia proponents claim that euthanasia should be considered a medical treatment. If one accepts the notion that euthanasia is good, then it would not only be inappropriate, but discriminatory. To deny this ?good? to a person solely on the basis of that person?s being too young or too mentally incapacitated to make the request. Legalized euthanasia raises the potential for a potentially dangerous situation. Doctors could find themselves better off financially if a seriously ill, or disables person, chooses to die rather than receive long term care.
I think euthanasia goes against the natural law inclination to survive, and that we must do what we can for self-preservation. If we begin to deem certain situations and conditions unworthy of living, there may be no need to improve the quality of life or medical care. Why bother?
There are many avenues available in the medical world for pain relief, and there are procedures to ease the pain and suffering. Hospice is one medical avenue to consider if you are terminally ill. Euthanasia is not the answer to a bad situation. There is hope, help, and advances in medical technology everyday. To deny yourself the life you have been given is sad, but there are ways to succeed from depression and the pain from suffering.