Euthanasia Precious Life Essay Research Paper Euthanasia

Euthanasia: Precious Life Essay, Research Paper Euthanasia: Precious Life My impression is that the idea of euthanasia, if not the practice, is gradually gaining acceptance within our society. People like Jack Kevorkian

Euthanasia: Precious Life Essay, Research Paper

Euthanasia: Precious Life

My impression is that the idea of euthanasia, if not the practice, is

gradually gaining acceptance within our society. People like Jack Kevorkian

attribute this to an increasing inclination to devalue human life, but I do not

believe that this is the major factor. The acceptance of euthanasia is much

more likely to be the result of unthinking sympathy and benevolence. It is an

easy step from this very human response to the view that if someone would be

better off dead, then it must be right to kill that person. Although I respect

the compassion that leads to this conclusion, I believe that this conclusion is

wrong. I want to show that euthanasia is wrong. It is inherently wrong, but

it is also wrongly judged from the standpoints of self-interest and of practical


Before presenting my arguments, it would be well to define ?euthanasia?.

An essential aspect of euthanasia is that it involve taking a human life. Also,

the person whose life is taken must be someone who is believed to be suffering

from an incurable disease or injury from which recovery cannot reasonably be

expected. Finally the action must be deliberate and intentional. Therefore

euthanasia is intentionally taking the life of a presumably hopeless person.

It is important to be clear about the deliberate and intentional aspect

of the killing. If a hopeless person is given an injection of the wrong drug by

mistake and this causes his/her death, this is wrongful killing but not

euthanasia. The killing cannot be the result of an accident. In addition, if

the person is given an injection of a drug that is believed to be necessary to

treat their disease or better their condition and the person dies as a result,

then this is neither wrongful killing nor euthanasia. The intention was to make

the patient well, not kill them.

Every human being has a natural inclination to continue living. Our

reflexes and responses fit us to fight attackers, flee wild animals, and dodge

out of the way of trucks. In our daily lives we exercise caution and care

necessary to protect ourselves. Our bodies are similarly structured for

survival right down to the molecular level. When we are cut, our capillaries

seal shut, our blood clots, and fibrogen is produced to start the process of

healing the wound. When we are invaded by bacteria, antibodies are produced to

fight against the alien organism, and their remains are swept out of the body by

special cells designed for clean-up work.

It is enough I believe to recognize that the organization of the human

body and our patterns of behavioral response make the continuation of life a

natural goal. By reason alone, then, we can recognize that euthanasia sets us

against our own nature. In addition euthanasia does damage to our dignity. Our

dignity comes from seeking our ends. When one of our goals is survival, and

actions are taken that eliminate that goal, then our natural dignity suffers.

Therefore, euthanasia denies our basic human character and requires that we

regard ourselves or others as something less than fully human.

The above arguments are, I believe, sufficient to show that euthanasia

is inherently wrong. But there are reasons for considering it wrong when judged

by standards other than reason. Because death is final and irreversible,

euthanasia contains within it the possibility that we will work against our own

interest if we practice it or allow it to be practiced on us.

Contemporary medicine has high standards of excellence and has a proven

record of accomplishment, but it does not possess perfect and complete knowledge.

A mistaken diagnosis is possible, and so is a mistaken prognosis. Consequently,

we may believe that we are dying of a disease when as a matter of fact, we may

not be. We may think that we have no hope of recovery when, as a matter of fact,

our chances are quite good. In such circumstances, if euthanasia were permitted,

we would die for no reason. Death is final and the chance of error is too great

to approve the practice of euthanasia.

There have been many cases where spontaneous remissions have occurred.

For no apparent reason, a patient simply recovers when those around him/her,

including physicians, expected the patient to die. Euthanasia would just

guarantee their expectations and leave no room for the miraculous recoveries

that frequently occur.

Finally, knowing that we can take our own life’s at any time (or ask

another to take it) we tend to give up, and rely on euthanasia. The will to

live is strong in all of us, but it can be weakened by pain and suffering and

the feeling of hopelessness. If during a bad time we allow ourselves to be

killed, we would never have a chance to reconsider. Recovery from a serious

illness requires that we fight for it, and anything that weakens out

determination by suggesting that there is an easy way out is ultimately against

our own interest. Also, we may be inclined towards euthanasia because of our

concern for others. If we see our sickness and suffering as an emotional and

financial burden on our family, we may feel that to leave our life is to make

their lives easier.

Doctors and nurses, for the most part, are totally committed to saving

lives. A life lost for them is almost a personal failure, an insult to their

skills and knowledge. Euthanasia as a practice might alter this. It could have

a corrupting influence so that in any case that is severe doctors and nurses

might not try hard enough to save the patient. They might decide that the

patient would simply be ?better off dead? and that the steps necessary to help

that person would not be carried out. This attitude could then carry over to

their dealing with patients less seriously ill. The result would be an overall

decline in the quality of medical care.

I hope that I have succeeded in showing why the good will that inclines

us to give approval of euthanasia is mislaid. Euthanasia is inherently wrong

because it violated the nature and dignity of human beings. But even those who

are not convinced by this must be persuaded that the potential personal and

social dangers inherent in euthanasia are sufficient to forbid our approving it

as a personal practice.

Suffering is surely a terrible thing, and we have a clear duty to

comfort those in need and to ease their suffering when we can. But suffering is

also a natural part of life with values for the individual and for others that

we should not overlook. We may legitimately seek for others and for ourselves

and pain-less death. Euthanasia, however, is not just an easeful death. It is

a wrongful death. Euthanasia is not just dying. It is killing.