Thomas Sullivan's Views On The Permissibility Of Euthanasia

Good Essays
Euthanasia is a serious political, moral and ethics issues in society. People either strictly forbid or firmly favor euthanasia. Terminally ill patients have a fatal disease from which they will never recover, many will never sleep in their own bed again. Many beg health professionals to “pull the plug” or smother them with a pillow so that they do not have to bear the pain of their disease so that they will die faster. Thomas D. Sullivan and James Rachels have very different views on the permissibility of active and passive euthanasia. Sullivan believes that it is impermissible for the doctor, or anyone else to terminate the life of a patient but, that it is permissible in some cases to cease the employment of “extraordinary means” of preserving…show more content…
It allows for a highly questionable distinction between killing and letting die, which, if accepted, lead to indefensible medical decisions. Sullivan chooses to focus on the integrity of the Doctrine. The AMA Doctrine delivers the distinction between ordinary and extraordinary care. Ordinary care is obtained without excessive expense, pain or other inconvenience, while, extraordinary care is all treatment that does not fall under ordinary care and attempts to prolong the life of a terminally ill patient. The Doctrine can be considered a simple prohibition of murder, ensuring that doctors do not without ordinary care, because doing so would be considered killing. Rachels example seen convincing because they deal with withholding ordinary care but he fails to distinguish ordinary from extraordinary, then attacks the lack of ordinary care. This can be found in the Downs Syndrome Baby example, where severe down’s syndrome babies born with intestinal obstructions. Sometimes in such cases the baby is permitted to die. Rachels argues that in such cases we find compelling moral grounds for preferring active euthanasia to passive euthanasia in the vastly greater degree of suffering involved in letting the baby die. The AMA policy, strictly interpreted, seems to allow newborn Down Syndrome babies to die from intestinal blockages, though this is not the reason that parents think it best to let the babies die. Sullivan would deem that if the baby is suffering and their quality of life would not be adequate then the baby should be permitted to die. In the case of the Downs Syndrome Baby it would be permissible to withhold extraordinary care, according to Sullivan. The doctor, in removing extraordinary care, does not intend to kill the patient, but to spare the baby any suffering that may be endured through extraordinary
Get Access