Euthanasia as the Assisted Suicide: Analytical Essay
Euthanasia is one of the most sensitive and controversial issues in medical ethics. Euthanasia, an assisted suicide, is a wide topic and can be described in many directions. I will make it argumentative essay with its pros and cons. In this essay, I will limit myself to negative form of euthanasia. Even though it includes medical aid in dying but killing another person is considered a murder. Palliative care is a well-organized and effective alternative to euthanasia for terminally ill persons. Effective palliative patient care will re-assure terminally and chronically ill patients that they are not a burden on society and the remaining part of their lives are worth living. However, euthanasia could be dangerous for society morally and could be abused.
Euthanasia: the assisted suicide
The word “Euthanasia” comes from the Greek word “euthanatos”. Euthanatos means “easy death.” Euthanasia is a medical practice of painlessly putting someone to death who is suffering from painful and incurable disease. It could be allowing them to die by withholding treatment or withdrawing artificial life-support measures. Euthanasia is killing someone who cannot recover from illness. In the United States assisted suicide is legal in some states includes Oregon, Washington, Vermont, California (effective from June 2016). Physicians may lawfully decide not to prolong a patient’ life who is suffering and they may administer pain reliever drugs even if this shortens the patient’s life.
Euthanasia could be of many different types. Killing a patient or someone with overdose of pain killers is called active euthanasia. Passive euthanasia when doctors let the patient die be by withdrawing or withholding medical treatments. Euthanasia occurs at the request of the person who dies is called voluntary euthanasia. On-voluntary euthanasia occurs when the person is unconscious or unable to make decisions on his/her behalf. Most of the time, it includes cases where the person is a mentally ill child where someone else must take decision on their behalf in the eyes of the law.
“Life” is a moral principle right based on the belief that every human being has the right to live. All human life has profound value to the society and no one has the right to take someone’s life. All people deserve to live and helping someone to end their life or injecting a medication to a hopeless patient is a murder. Euthanasia is not only giving freedom to patients to end their lives, it is also giving other people (physicians, nurses) the legal power to end another person’s life. However, there is a high risk that a ‘right to die’ may soon become a ‘duty to die’. Euthanasia and assisted suicide are huge matters of concern because they involve one person facilitating the death of another. Friends, relatives, healthcare staff and society are hugely affected by the wider results of this practice. This will demoralize the society ‘values and dispirit the humanity.
One of the important arguments against Euthanasia is that it will terminate the value of compassion from patient care. People who support euthanasia and assisted suicide will often present the view that helping someone else to end their life is the most loving and compassionate thing to do, which is not true. Actually the most compassionate thing to do is to care for a person at the end of their life and to show them that we are here for them to provide care. This compassion to care will make patients to think that their life has great value regardless of age or abilities.
Another argument, Euthanasia is not needed when we have so many alternative treatments are available such as palliative care, hospices care, and home health care. We do not have to kill the patient to kill the illness or pain. All types of pain can be relieved or managed by medicine treatments. Palliative care is an area of healthcare system which focuses on relieving and preventing the suffering of patients. Palliative care is actually a new medical domain that doesn’t serve only the dying people, it focuses more on improving quality of life and providing comfort to people of all ages with serious, chronic, and terminal illnesses. In affective palliative care t terminally or physically ill patients are given drugs and other types of support to help relieve and control the symptoms. The main motive of palliative care is to kill the pain not the patient. Palliative care will give the patient a better quality of life. Palliative care always encourages life and regards dying as a normal process. It adds the psychological and spiritual aspects of the patient. Effective palliative care may give the patient and their loved ones a chance to spend quality time together. It also encourages them to live the remaining part of their lives with dignity. Hospice care is a patient health care that focuses on the quality of life rather of lengthen the life. It focuses on terminally ill patient’s pain, symptoms and also satisfies their emotional and spiritual needs. Home health care helps mentally or chronically ill, older adults and people with injuries to live independently for as long as possible. It helps people with a wide range of services and can decrease the need for long-term nursing home care. On the other hand euthanasia practice mainly focuses on killing patient not their pain or discomfort.
Not all people who are terminally ill or mentally disable wish to end their life with the help of euthanasia. The Medical Journal published a survey in 2011 that the majority of patients who are almost completely paralyzed but fully conscious have said they are happy with their life and do not want to die. The survey questioned 168 members of the French Association for Locked-in Syndrome. However, it is more important that we do not lose sight of the large number of people who are terminally ill to found richness and purpose in life regardless of the pain and hardship. Euthanasia practice will weaken the vulnerable patients and they will feel themselves as a burden and would like to die instead of fighting with their situations. This practice will kill people psychologically more than physically.
Matthew Hampson a young rugby player had a collapsing scrum that caused him paralyzed from the neck down and requiring a ventilator to breathe. Matt keeps himself busy in raising money for spinal care for UK charity Spinal Research and coaching youngsters at local schools. He also writes columns for rugby magazines. Matt offers hope and encouragement to young people with similar injuries through sport. Matt shares his life experiences and devoting his life to raising vital funds for those in need of support. Matt has written an autobiography and the Matt Hampson Foundation provides help to young people who got serious injures through sport. This foundation assists individuals by offering those grants and funds to assist with equipment, technology or daily life expenses. Matt Hampson chose to get busy living after sustaining his life changing injury in 2005 and inspire people get busy living again after a life altering injury. His foundation is also working on this philosophy and helping people to get back into sport or assisting them in making adjustments to their new life.
Euthanasia or assisted suicide will boost up vulnerability. This practice will put pressure on vulnerable, at risk or weak people to end their lives for fear of being a financial, emotional or care burden upon their families and friends. This would affect people more who are disabled, elderly, sick or terminally sick. Some would face the added risk of force by others who might stand to gain from their deaths. Fear and anxiety would be promoted rather than dealing with severe life situations. However, we must never let the vulnerable, mentally/terminally ill, or having life threatening disease like cancer, and the elder feel that they should follow the path of assisted suicide so they could not to be a burden on others.
In 2012, a study conducted in Belgium shows that 32% of the assisted deaths are carried out without request and 47% of assisted deaths go unreported in the Flanders region of Belgium. Recently another study in Belgium found that nurses are regularly euthanasing their patients even though the laws prohibits it. In addition to this the study shows there was a 25% increase in the number of assisted deaths in Belgium in 2012 that make society to think about this problem seriously.
There is an assumption that patients should have a right to die would impose on doctors a duty to kill. The physicians who pledge to do no harm to their patient would face a system that will eventually expect them to do just assist people to die. In other words voluntary euthanasia could lead to non-voluntary euthanasia by giving doctors the power to decide when a patient’s life is not worth living. Doctors may start killing people without concerning with their permission. Insurance companies can also take advantage of assisted suicide due to terminally ill patients too expensive to keep alive. Imagine what would be the future of the society. The health insurance companies would start refusing to cover lifesaving medical care and offering to pay patients to kill themselves instead.
Another argument against euthanasia, based on morality and religious perspective, is society sees life as a precious gift from God and we should take care of it not to be off ended by the taking of that life. Basically an action which has a primary intention of killing another person is morally wrong. In relation to human rights the act of euthanasia breaches the “right to life”. Right to life is one of the Universal Human Rights that advocates dismissing claims there is a right to die.
Euthanasia is against the will of God and weakens society’s respect for the sanctity of life. Euthanasia may devalue some lives and spread wrong message to disable people. People with disability may look at things from their own perspective and see life with a disability as a disaster. It may also boost up moral pressure on elderly relatives by selfish families.
In conclusion, euthanasia is an inhuman practice. Euthanasia is a rejection of some one’s important life. Directly or indirectly, euthanasia encourages vulnerable, terminally ill, or disable people to end their lives. Euthanasia may weaken patients and devalues their lives. Elderly or disabled patients would think that they are worth less than others, so it is better to be dead than sick or disabled. The desire, to continue to live rich moments with their families and loved ones, will die. Euthanasia can be effectively replaced with palliative care. Palliative care provided by a well-trained team can help the patient, family, and their loved ones. Decent palliative care is able to control physical, psychological, social, and spiritual suffering.
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