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Euthanasia, the act of relieving the prolonged pain and suffering of terminally ill patients by inducing death, has been the subject of controversy for sometime. Dying with dignity, the kind of end we hope for ourselves as well as others, has in some ways become more difficult. With the advancements in medicine having leaped forward within the last 20 years, prolonging life by means of technology has become common place in the medical community. These life-sustaining advances in treatments have brought up moral issues of whether it is the right of an individual to suppress his or her own life-sustaining treatment if they so desire. Our society has become a youth-worshipping society. It is almost as if we have taken on old-age and death as just another disease that need to be conquered. The fact is, we all die sooner or later. Death is not our enemy. It is as much a part of living as being born. Some seventy percent of the deaths that occur here in the U.S. take place in a hospital or institution, and almost three-quarters of the people who die each year are over sixty-five.(Ogg 2) This figure has not always been the case though. Before immunizations of infectious childhood diseases, death at a young age was common. In 1915 the average life expectancy was 54.5 years. Today the average is about 75 years. Most adults who died were not really old by today’s standard. (Ogg 2) Death was part of living, commonly taking place at home with family and friends. Bastian 2 Today, as the figures show, death is highly institutionalized. This hiding away makes death easier for everyone to deny. The question of how to treat the dying surfaces. As one doctor stated, “there is a time to resist a disease and a time to recognize that future resistance would be inhumane, as well as futile.” (Kubler-Ross 8) Traditionally, doctors had the responsibility for deciding what should or should not be done for dying patients. Now, patients, their families, and patient representatives have a say in such decisions. Other factors such as religion come into effect as well. Jewish custom sanctions and perhaps even demands the withdrawal of artificial machines to prolong life, whether implanted or not.(Kubler-Ross 42) The Catholic Church is opposed to any form of euthanasia, but at the same time, the Church has for centuries sanctioned the withholding of useless treatments in hopeless case...

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...ience great Bastian 6 suffering, do you, or do you not think that competent doctors should be allowed by law to end the patients life through mercy killing, if the patient has made a formal request in writing?” The response was overwhelmingly pro-euthanasia. Three quarters of the people surveyed believed that the choice should be given to the patient. (Internet) Although euthanasia may seem like the right choice to a large consensus, there are still moral issues involved that keep euthanasia from being legalized. The arguments for euthanasia are based on the belief that euthanasia is a more humane route to take in cases of suffering, and also that a person should have the right to self determination. The arguments against euthanasia involve religion, and the fear that misuse may occur. By misuse, the idea is that old, poor, and powerless people would be selected more often than rich people. In either case, pro or con, it may be some time before euthanasia would be allowed in the U.S.. The world would seem a very different and cruel place to many if legalized. But from the information received from the polls, euthanasia may be only a short time away.

Word Count: 1363 Euthanasia
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