Euthanasia The right to die with dignity, euthanasia and physician assisted suicide is a very sensitive issue debated in this country today. Euthanasia is the act of painlessly ending the life of a person for the reason of mercy. It is sometimes referred to as mercy killing. Americans are hearing more and more horror stories of the elderly tragically killing his or her spouse in order to avoid painful and horrible deaths. It is sad and amazing the extreme measure one had to go through to accomplish his or her death.
The applied ethical issue of euthanasia, or mercy killing, concerns whether it is morally permissible for a third party, such as a physician, to end the life of a terminally ill patient who is in intense pain. The word euthanasia comes from the Greek words eu (‘well’) and thanatos (‘death’). It means a painless and gentle death. But in modern usage, it has come to imply that someone’s life is ended for compassionate reasons by some passive or active steps taken by another person. The euthanasia controversy is part of a larger issue concerning the right to die.
Euthanasia taps into many controversial motives such as government, religion, ethics, and human rights. It is a very challenging issue to fully understand because of the different stances that can be taken on the subject. Euthanasia is the act of ending a person’s life by either lethal injection or the postponement of medical treatment. It is a way of allowing an ill patient to die with dignity. The debate of whether or not euthanasia should be legalized has gone on for many years.
Physician-assisted suicide is a justifiable self-deliverance because it helps those in pain avoid dying miserably. No person wants to live in pain or die in pain and PAS gives patients the mercy of dying painlessly. According to Kim, PAS allows patients a speedy death in peace and dignity (170). The author asserts that for many patients the pain they endure is too much to bear. Forcing people to suffer is immoral (Kim 171).
The Greeks and Romans believed that it was important to die a “good death”, which refers to a clear and calm psychological state of mind (Hamel, 16). Therefore, “it was the physicians role to support the patient in the dying process and to help ensure for him or her a good death” (Hamel, 20). According to ancient societies, euthanasia was an approved custom. But, “with the rise of orga... ... middle of paper ... ... plea to the physician was, “Whose life is it, anyway?” (Religious Tolerance,1). Physicians should not be prohibited by law from lending their professional assistance to those competent, terminally ill persons for whom no cure is possible and who wish for an easy death.
(Corr 489) There are different types of Euthanasia present today: active or physician assisted suicide, passive voluntary euthanasia and involuntary euthanasia. "Passive voluntary euthanasia," is where a conscious, mentally competent person, usually with a severe physical ailment, loses the will to live. Many have said that keeping them alive is just prolonging their death, which in turn can be considered a form of cruel and unusual punishment. They may ask that life support equipment be disconnected so that they can die quickly, painlessly, and with dignity. The second type, "active voluntary euthanasia," is done when terminally ill patients' are suffering and want natural death to occur sooner and when a patient is in persistent vegetative state (PVS) and the family chooses to let nature take it course.
Euthanasia is the killing of the terminally ill to relieve them of suffering. It may occur through carrying out an action (e.g. overdosing to a patient) or the absence of action (e.g. not ensuring the patient is fed). Euthanasia may be requested by the patient, his relatives, his medics or at times, even courts (BBC, 2013).
Passive euthanasia involves removing a patient’s life support, withholding food and water, and discontinuing medical treatments. Active euthanasia includes any direct action taken to cause the death of the person, such as administrating a lethal drug.2 The debate over this issue stems from moral, ethical, and religious beliefs. All of these standpoints either side with the patient dying a natural death or from an accelerated death by euthanasia. History Throughout history, euthanasia has been used as a way to relieve a patient from an incurable illness or from living a life of unbearable pain. Many cultures, such as the ancient Greek and Roman civilizations, did not oppose one’s decision to end his life rather than living with agonizing pain.3 During this time period, this choice was commonplace.
It has the minds of society wondering if death solves some of the most extreme medical problems. If a patient finds himself or herself terminally ill and in excruciating pain, they should have the option to partake in assisted suicide to end their misery. Some insights support Euthanasia and some reject the concept. This issue is important to society because people want the right to end their lives when facing terminal, or life threatening, illnesses. In my opinion, certain forms of euthanasia should be considered legal.
It can be active euthanasia (relieve person from pain by killing) or passive euthanasia (letting die). Newell-Smith raises the questions if the person has a right to die when he/she wants to and how he/she wants to especially if suffering from terminal disease accompanied with excruciating pain. Since most of painless ways of dying involves assistance, Nowell-Smith states that the person has a very limited right to die when chooses so. He believes that person must have a right to die at a time and manner of his/her choice and that there is no moral difference between passive and active euthanasia. He also concludes that society should change their look at Death itself, not prohibiting its discussion as it once happened to Sex.