According to Manning (1998, p.1), euthanasia is “a death free of anxiety and pain brought about through the use of medication or deliberately putting an end to someone’s life in order to spare the individual from suffering”…
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Euthanasia is therefore believed to be beneficial to the person on whom it is brought about because it spares him or her from enormous pain and suffering at the end-of –life where death is inevitable. The practice began with the Greeks and Romans who believed that there was no need to preserve life at all cost hence if no relief could be offered to the dying and the disabled, suicide was acceptable. The choice to die is made by competent patient who does not value his or her life as worth while with the assistance of the doctor or choice is made through an existing living will in case the patient is not competent at the end –of –life.
Euthanasia can be active or passive and voluntary or involuntary or non voluntary. Manning (1998) describes passive euthanasia as the avoidance of extreme measures to prolong life for example, by withdrawal of medical treatments whereby the illness is terminal and it results in pain and suffering for the patient. According to McMahan (2002), the patient is allowed to die through withdrawal or withholding of life-prolonging treatments. Active euthanasia I whereby the death is brought about by another person other than the patient himself/herself thus McMahan considers it as an act of killing which is not morally acceptable. Voluntary euthanasia is whereby a competent person makes an enduring request to be helped to die whereas in non voluntary euthanasia, the person is incompetent to make a request hence the decision to end life is made on his /her behalf. Involuntary euthanasia on the other hand, is whereby death is brought about without the consent of the patient. Where the physicians provide patients with a means to end their lives but are not involved in the killing, then it is a physician-assisted suicide which is prohibited by the law (Keown, 2002). The euthanasia debate has been going on for decades as to whether it should be legalized and the morality involved in the process. Some people advocate for proper palliative care as opposed to euthanasia and physician- assisted suicide while others view palliative treatment as causing unnecessary pain and suffering to patients whose life is not worth saving as they would eventually die. They thus advocate for a painless death or what they call a ‘good death’ by allowing patients to choose whether their lives are worth living or not (Keown, 2002). Euthanasia is rejected especially by religious groups on moral grounds as it results to killing and everyone has a right to life as set out by the international convention on human rights. However, the churches do not advocate for prolonging of life either hence patients should be allowed to die. Some others view legalization of euthanasia as a slippery slope to other forms of suicide hence should not be allowed while others see the law as inconsistent in dealing with suicide hence ineffective. The autonomy of the individuals in deciding whether their lives are worth living or warrant termination is also the choice and no clear guidelines to be followed in determining competency hence doctors can misuse their position while performing euthanasia. There is also debate on living wills, the Hippocratic Oath and healthcare spending among other issues which will be explored in this paper but first it is important to understand the history of euthanasia so as to make informed opinions. History of Euthanasia The concept of euthanasia began with the Greeks and Romans according to Young (2007). The early Greeks and Romans
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Euthanasia means taking one’s life with the help of a doctor by giving injected poisonous medicines or otherwise. According to common beliefs, a person has no right to take the life of other at whatever circumstances. And law treats euthanasia as a punishable act as it involves taking one’s life.
Euthanasia can also result from the medical practitioner putting some fatal drugs or chemical substances, which are lethal and can easily terminate life, within the reach of a patient who is already seeking to die, before the actual natural death. The circumstances that have led to physicians opting for this, is a situation where the patient is suffering from a disease or a condition that makes them experience intense pain (890).
Euthanasia Euthanasia is recognized as the act of voluntarily taking one’s life. While in pure technical terms the act of euthanasia is a form of suicide, in practice it is generally associated with individuals facing end of life issues that choose euthanasia as a means of escaping pain and suffering associated with their condition.
However, active euthanasia is undertaken on an individual only when his or her doctors and family members agree and make the decision to kill actively to end the agony suffered by their loved one. Passive euthanasia, on the other hand, lets the suffering person die by withholding the necessary medical care and allowing the disease to kill the person instead of a fellow human being.
They include assisted suicide, active voluntary euthanasia and physician-aided suicide. In essence, these terms describe the ending of one’s suffering via termination of their life often via drugs administration. Today, Patients Rights Council (2012) reveals that assisted suicide is considered illegal in 47 U.S States apart from Washington, Montana and Oregon which support physician-assisted suicide.
In an effort to control some of these incidences, some governments have developed policies to allow euthanasia as an ultimate solution to pain. Such decisions have created massive criticism and complain from different quarters (Spack 23-27). I conducted a survey among twenty people in order to get their understanding and opinion about euthanasia.
Voluntary euthanasia is the process of ending the patient’s life to end pain and suffering but such a decision is made by the patient. Involuntary euthanasia involves performing euthanasia on a patient, who is able to provide informed
Euthanasia refers to the practice of ending the life of an individual suffering from a terminal illness or incurable disease by either lethal injection or suspension of the treatment. Euthanasia is intentional killing
Literally translated, therefore, the term Euthanasia means the good death. Euthanasia is a debatable ethical issue because it seems to violate individual’s right to life, on the one hand, and on the other
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