Jessica's Dilemma Essay

Jessica's Dilemma Essay

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A doctor’s primary job is to alleviate the pain of their patient, even if it does not help them. People do not want to have to endure pain and misery at the end of life. They want to die fast and painless, but this idea goes against what people call the “sanctity of life”. Kant wrote about this concept, saying he believed it was wrong because you could not will universally that everyone would want to die prematurely if they were in a similar situation. On the other side, Utilitarians would be for euthanasia in cases like this because it promotes the most happiness and alleviates pain and suffering. In this case, Jessica would not experience any happiness because she would be dead, but her parents would be happier because they would not have to watch their daughter go through days of unimaginable, agonizing pain.
Assuming the law permitted euthanasia, I believe it would be morally permissible to euthanize Jessica. However, I think that Jessica should have been more involved in the decision than she was. While in the hospital, Jessica lacked the desire to live and was uninterested in interacting with the world. The doctors said her situation was medically hopeless and there was nothing else they could do. At this point she was only expected to live a couple more days. Jessica is considered a minor, so the decision is ultimately up to here parents. I feel that they had her best interests in mind when they made the decision to not have her resuscitated if anything were to happen. Jessica might be a competent human being, but her rationality is in question since she was only seven years old. Nevertheless, since euthanasia was illegal, Jessica’s parents had to spend the last 72 hours of their daughter’s life watching her writhe in pain...


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...f them because the last moments you spent with them were so traumatic. Jessica’s parents wanted to have their daughter die free of pain so they would be able to focus solely on the good memories. They were not able to do so because of the laws in place, which is why the law should be changed to permit euthanasia in cases such as this. Jessica’s parents spent the last hours of Jessica’s life helplessly watching her die a slow and painful death, which is what they were ultimately trying to avoid.



Works Cited

Kamm, F. M. (1997). A right to choose death? Retrieved from
http://blackboard.bu.edu/webapps/portal/frameset.jsp?

Lindsay, R. A., Beauchamp, T. L., & Dick, P. (2006). Hastened death and the regulation
of the practice of medicine. In T. Beauchamp, L. Walters, J. Kahn & A. Mastroianni (Eds.), Contemporary Issues in Bioethics (p. 435). Thomson Wadsworth.

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