Euthanasia as Mercy or Murder

Better Essays
Euthanasia as Mercy or Murder "In keeping with the root definition of 'euthanasia'- literally [meaning] 'good death'- [supporters] of euthanasia insist they are talking about helping terminally ill patients in insufferable pain die a dignified death- at the patient's request. But this bears no resemblance to the true picture of the actual practice of euthanasia in the United States" (Lyons np). Passive euthanasia is death by nonintervention, meaning a health care worker can discontinue providing life-sustaining treatment to the patient, thus allowing him to die more quickly. "In all actuality, [passive] euthanasia often involves withholding food and water from a patient whose death is caused by starvation or dehydration rather than the patient's underlying disease" (Lyons np). In active euthanasia, a physician or family member takes the life of a patient by means of lethal injection, before he or she dies of a terminal illness or injury. Currently, passive euthanasia is prohibited in most states, but not all. Whereas, active euthanasia is illegal in every state. Although many people believe that euthanasia is a way for people to die with dignity, it is the deliberate taking of a human life and should be banned because it is a clear form of murder. Of course, supporters of euthanasia do not agree that this is an act of murder, but rather they see it as an act of mercy. They believe that when an individual's quality of life is severely diminished by debilitating diseases or terminal illnesses, he or she should have the right to decide between life or death by euthanasia. They strongly feel that their love ones should be allowed to die peacefully, surrounded by family and friends. They believe t... ... middle of paper ... ...ould starvation, dehydration, and suffocation be considered 'compassionate'? Even the hippocrates, as far back as 460 B.C., expressed the same opinion when they created the Hippocratic Oath which states, "I will follow that method treatment which, according to my ability and judgment, I consider for the benefit of my patients, and abstain from whatever is deleterious and mischievious. I will give no deadly medicine to anyone if asked, nor suggest any such counsel..." (Hippocratic 1). "... the Hippocratic tradition has stood for the 'sanctity' of human life. We can alleviate the unbearable in life better than ever before. We can do that and not eliminate life itself, ... medicine cannot be both our healer and our killer" (Koop np ). This statement seems to summarize the beliefs of those opposed to euthanasia, 'mercy killing' is just plain killing.
Get Access