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Psychology End of Life Issues The Right to Die - Essay Example

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Euthanasia can be broadly defined as inducing death artificially with clear intention to end the life of a person who is terminally ill and there is little hope of recovery (Stones & Winslade, 1995). In recent times, euthanasia has become the major controversial issue as it is still not a legal option in the majority of the countries across the globe…
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Psychology End of Life Issues The Right to Die
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Euthanasia can be broadly defined as inducing death artificially with clear intention to end the life of a person who is terminally ill and there islittle hope of recovery (Stones & Winslade, 1995). In recent times, euthanasia has become the major controversial issue as it is still not a legal option in the majority of the countries across the globe. The idea of euthanasia is also not chosen by people because it is considered morally and ethically wrong by different religions. But euthanasia needs to be a personal choice of the individuals or the family members of someone who is in constant pain and has little hope of leading a life of quality. Indeed, the wider implications of euthanasia are crucial issues for the patient as well as for the family of the sick person. It is important that people are empowered with knowledge about the euthanasia and treatment so that the right decisions can be made with regard to ending the life of the terminally sick person. Euthanasia can be broadly classified into two categories: active euthanasia and passive euthanasia. Active euthanasia refers to the process when drug is administered to the patient to die peacefully and in sleep without experiencing pain. Passive euthanasia, on the other hand, is the process when life support systems are removed and patient is left to die in natural conditions. While the two types of euthanasia achieve the same end objective of death of the intended person, passive euthanasia tends to prolong the pain of the individual whereas active euthanasia ensures that the person dies instantly and without experiencing long pain. The major ethical and moral issue against euthanasia is to preserve sanctity of life as life is a gift of God (Kuupelomaki, 2000). Catholics believe that life belongs to God and nobody has the right to take it or extinguish it at one’s will. Hence, even though active euthanasia is a merciful act that is designed to eliminate pain of a terminally ill person, it is intentional killing and not accepted by Christianity at large. Non- maleficence is also important issue that can be misused here for vested interests. Euthanasia can also be considered a suicide which is assisted by the physicians; therefore, it should not be encouraged as it is morally, ethically and legally not a right action. The Netherlands and Switzerland are some of the countries where euthanasia is legal. But in most of the countries across the globe and in the majority of states in America, euthanasia has not been legalized. Some states like Oregon, Washington, Vermont and Montana have made physicians assisted suicide legal, making death with dignity, a key factor in the legal process (Procon, 2013). In my state, euthanasia is not legal and right to die is still a very controversial issue within and outside the religious, cultural and legal conventions. I strongly support euthanasia for many reasons, the main fact being that it enables a terminally ill person to exercise his/her autonomy to decide on the end of life by using euthanasia to hasten his/her death. Euthanasia is ethically and morally correct because Act Utilitarian of Bentham clearly states that actions which maximize happiness are ethically good and therefore, one should “always pick the one (action) that will maximize happiness and minimize unhappiness for the greatest number of people” (Rosenstand, 2002, p. 176). When euthanasia is administered on a terminally sick person, the patient is relieved of his/her pain and dies happily and without experiencing pain. Moreover, the patient’s relatives and loved ones are also spared from the prolong agony of seeing their loved one in extreme pain and leading a worthless life. Indeed, it is inhumane to artificially extend the life of individuals when one knows that it would just prolong the life and not the quality of life. Euthanasia therefore becomes the right choice for persons who are constantly in pain and are waiting for death to happen. The early death through active euthanasia not only gives relief to the patient from his/her mental and physical agony but relieves the carer and relatives from the uncertainty of the death which they are constantly witnessing. Apart from the adverse psychological impact of witnessing the pain of one’s dear ones, huge amount of money that is spent on artificial aids is also saved and can be utilized for fulfilling the last wishes of the patient. Hence, I strongly advocate the physician assisted suicide for ending the life of a person whose death is imminent and when medicine fails to reduce his/her suffering. (words:758) Reference Kuupelomaki, M. (2000). Attitudes of cancer patients, their family members and health professionals toward active euthanasia. European Journal of Cancer Care, 9(1), 16-21. Procon. (2013). Euthanasia. Retrieved from: http://euthanasia.procon.org/view.resource.php?resourceID=000132 Rosenstand, N. (2002). The moral of the story with free ethics powerweb. New York, NY: McGraw Hill. Stone, T. H., & Winslade, W. J. (1995). Physician assisted suicide and euthanasia in the United States. Journal of Legal Medicine, 16, 481-507. Read More
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