Euthanasia refers to the practice of terminating the life of a sick person in order to prevent them from suffering further effects of the sickness. The practice aims at relieving the patient from painful experiences because of the medical conditions (Lifton, 1986, p. 2).
Most of the patients who undergo the process suffer from conditions that have no cure. On the other hand, some patients find it favorable to find their own life terminated. Such patients do not have the psychological strength to stand the fact that the conditions that they are going through are not curable (Peck, 1997, p. 2). Most patients who take the euthanasia initiative do not benefit from the counseling sessions that they undergo.
In most countries in the world, the law does not allow euthanasia. The prohibition results from the conflict of interest between religious beliefs and medical practices. Religion does not allow people or professionals to terminate the lives of others regardless of the cause. According to religious doctrines, life is a holy gift ordained by God. Only God has the justification to decide who lives and who dies. Religion asserts that the euthanasia is an act of killing. Because of such strong assertions, there are certain places such as the United Kingdom where the practice is illegal. In the United Kingdom, the law does not allow anyone to help other in taking away his or her own life. In the case where the individual does so, they are liable charges of murder.
The paper seeks to persuade the audience that euthanasia is a good medical practice. In a bid to achieve the objective, the paper looks at the pros and cons of euthanasia. It will thus build its objectives in a manner that will help the audience support euthanasia.
The term originates from the Greek word known as Euthanatos. The term defines easy death. Medical practitioners carry out euthanasia by the use of two methods. First, the practitioner may actively carry out the procedure. For instance, they may administer an injection of a tablet that enables the body of the patients to cease its metabolic activities. When the body stops the metabolic activities, it results in the death of the individual. Secondly, the practitioner may fail to do what the patient requires them to do (Yount, 2002, p.3). For instance, they may cease the feeding tube from running until the patient dies.
Proponents of Euthanasia
People who propose the use of Euthanasia and suicide assisted by physicians argue that people who have a terminal illness have the right to take away their own life. The proponents believe that suffering the fact that an individual does not need to endure it any longer and can therefore take their own life. Consequently, the individuals have a title to a quick, compassionate, and dignified death rather than unending pain.
Most proponents also argue that all individuals have the right to die. The constitution enshrines the right to die in the same manner that it enshrines the right to life, marriage, and procreation. In addition, they assert that the law must allow the use of medication that can terminate life. The proposal stems from the use of medication and measures used by doctors to save lives (Torr, 2000, p. 4).
There is no need for an individual to go through long periods of suffering that has no remedy. It is right for the individual to decide and end the suffering. People who have a terminal illness may experience severe damage to the quality of life that they live. There are certain conditions such as incontinence, vomiting, nausea, difficulty in breathing, paralysis, and difficulty in swallowing. The conditions affect the normal functioning of the body such that the patient cannot live their lives, in the same way, that they used to live (Carrick, 1985, p.4). For instance, difficulty in breathing leads to prolonged feelings of suffocation, which is uncomfortable for the patient.
The Cons of Euthanasia
Opponents of euthanasia have been the victims of a dilemma. The have many moral questions regarding the use of the method to terminate the pain that a patient is going through. One of the reasons why people oppose euthanasia is that it reduces the meaning and the value of the life of human beings. The opponents assert that no human being has enough power to determine whether another human being should live or die. According to them, it is unethical for the medical practitioners to agree with patients and aid them in committing suicides.
They argue that there is no justification for a human being to take away the life of another human being. The societal morals, beliefs, and teachings on suicide and murder stay in place in all circumstances. On the contrary, medical practitioners argue against the proposals of the opponents using the double doctor effect. The double doctor effect relates pain relief and euthanasia. The doctors administer a drug that relieves pain although it makes the patient die sooner.
Pro and Con Arguments
Euthanasia is a good practice when the families of the individuals come into consideration. Individuals who suffer from a terminal illness require specialized equipment to deal with the illness. On the contrary, the facilities do not guarantee the recovery of the patient. They merely reduce the effects of the condition such that the patient suffers when they are still alive (Bloyd, 1995, p. 5).
The cost of paying the hospital bills for terminal patients is often very high. At times, families have to spend all the savings that they have in offsetting the medical bill yet the patient may never recover. Instead of putting the family’s future in jeopardy, euthanasia helps in ending the risk that a family may take. Most terminal patients can stay in with terminal illness for years and die in the end.
The opponents suppose that there is no difference in letting the patient die or killing them. There is little need to admit patients who suffer long-term illness in hospital if the aim is to let them die. The hospital serves as a place where the doctor works for the recovery of the patient until death happens naturally. It is wrong to let patients die or assist them to die. If death is the intention, then facilities should have equipment to deal with long-term cases. Doctors have a duty and legal obligation to treat and take care of the patients regardless of the illness they are suffering from at that particular time (Peck, 1997, p.5). They should not work towards ending the life of the patient in the name of relieving them of the pain.
It is worthwhile for the society to accept the use of euthanasia. Even though the act of ending the life of an individual sounds unethical, the practice is acceptable if it happens for the greater good. It is also acceptable if the practice happens at the will of the individual. For instance, a father may propose the termination of his life if he feels that he wants to preserve the future of the family by preserving finances for their education. He may opt for the practice if he prefers educating his children other than attending to an incurable condition. There are cases when an individual may recover from the disease, but such cases are rare. It is important for a society to support euthanasia by looking at the bigger picture involving family members. They may also contribute before the doctors carry out the practice.
Bloyd, S. (1995). Euthanasia. San Diego, CA: Lucent Books.
Carrick, P. (1985). Medical ethics in antiquity: Philosophical perspectives on abortion and euthanasia. Dordrecht: D. Reidel.
Lifton, R. J. (1986). The Nazi doctors: Medical killing and the psychology of genocide. New York: Basic Books.
Peck, M. S. (1997). Denial of the soul: Spiritual and medical perspectives on euthanasia and mortality. New York: Harmony Books.
Torr, J. D. (2000). Euthanasia: Opposing viewpoints. San Diego: Greenhaven Press.
Yount, L. (2002). Euthanasia. San Diego, Calif: Greenhaven Press.