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A Global Issue: Euthanasia

In: Social Issues

Submitted By Deborah24
Words 1507
Pages 7
To this day, one of the biggest controversial topics that continue to spark endless discussions is the public approval of euthanasia. Euthanasia which is commonly known as “assisted suicide” is the deliberate action of ending a life to relieve continuous pain and suffering (Nordqvist, 2010). This has become a complicated global issue, as various cultures battle with the list of ethical, religious, and legal factors that play a major part in the act. Many see euthanasia as a benefit not only for the patient, but for the patient’s family as well. In this case, the practice is able to end one’s life in a peaceful manner, while a financial and emotional burden can also be lifted off of the family members. In the eyes of others, euthanasia is an act that goes against God’s will and the idea that death is spiritually important and shouldn’t be altered (BBC, 2009). Aside from the fact that euthanasia is also referred to as “mercy killing”, it is still the act of murder—an unlawful premeditated killing of another human being (Answers, n.d.). I personally am against the practice of euthanasia because it is immoral and wrongful.

Recurrently, there are cases where patients aren’t given a choice when it comes to euthanasia. In fact, many ill patients lack the sufficient knowledge needed to ease their own symptoms, and aren’t in stable enough conditions to make critical decisions revolving life and death. After being in constant care, it is common for these patients to feel anxious about the future of their health, as well as pressured to make this choice; in hopes that they will become less of a burden towards their family members. It is also possible for doctors to misdiagnose an ill patient. “It is foolish to claim that incorrect diagnoses and prognoses could never occur” (Ethical Rights, 2013). In fact, millions of patients all over the globe are constantly being misdiagnosed and treated for the wrong conditions each year. Approximately 26% of medical cases were misdiagnosed, while according to The Journal of Clinical Oncology, 44% of some types of cancers had also been misdiagnosed (Falchuk, 2012). Many people from religious groups including Christians and Muslims believe that God was the one to provide life, and therefore, should be the only one to take it away. In the Christian religion, to be more specific, any form of murder is recognized as immoral. In fact, the sixth commandment in the Bible states, “Thou shalt not kill” (Exodus 20:1-17, King James Version).

Aside from the individuals who demand euthanasia to be the reason for their death, there are also those who do not ask for this easy way out. Many have endured similar—sometimes even worse—levels of pain and suffering as those who have resorted to euthanasia, however they still chose to live through it. For the most part, it is because they had an opinion. Often, those who are in critical conditions such as comas don’t have much of a say in the ultimate decision-making process regarding their health. Due to their unconscious state, these choices are left in the hands of the patient’s family. It may seem like a good idea because families provide great support and typically have their loved ones best interest at heart, but this is not always the case. While some families use euthanasia as a cover up for their selfish intentions, others simply may not exactly know what is best for the person of interest. This then raises the following questions: is the final decision being made off of the family’s pain or the victim’s? If the patient themselves were given the choice to determine their fate, what would they have wanted? As a result of the practice, the answers to these questions sometimes go on to remain unknown. In the world of today, no one is given a license to kill. If an individual were to choose to give themselves such a privilege, that alone would say a lot about how much respect we have towards the lives of one another. Having euthanasia legalized, will legally give healthcare professionals permission to become murderers. However, this would simply go against the Hippocratic Oath that is taken by those beginning medical practice. In its simplest form, the Hippocratic Oath states, “I will not give a lethal drug to anyone if I am asked, nor will I devise such a plan…” (Cangialosi, 2010).

Euthanasia is also viewed as a practice that can benefit the patient, their family, and the government as well; as it will put an end to suffering and government related costs. The insufficient funding for pain management and the government’s strong reliance on nursing homes, all contribute to the hopelessness that is felt by many who reach old age, experience physical limitations, or are suffering from disabled conditions (The Life Resources Charitable Trust, 2011). The advances in technology within the 21st century have paved the way for plenty other advancements including newer and better medications and the improvement of sanitation in the health industry. Medical advances have also changed the idea of death. Today, machines are now able to revive and keep an individual whose heart has stopped, alive. However, these costly improvements and use of resources ultimately serve no purpose if the patient who is suffering, wishes to die. “The argument for euthanasia often brings into question why should a person be forced to live without the ability to breath, eat, or think for themselves” (Bonin, 2012). Freedom of choice also plays a major part considering that people should be able to have control over their body. Supporters of euthanasia say that everyone should have the same degree of control in choosing the conditions surrounding their death, as they do in choosing the manner in which they live (Economist.com, 1997). In addition, it is only the patient themselves who is fully aware of how they are feeling on a day-to-day basis, in regards to the pain and suffering. “Apart from physical pain, overcoming the emotional pain of losing independence is an additional factor that only the patient comprehends fully” (Nordqvist, 2010). Those who are not experiencing the pain first-hand can only form an opinion off of what they are to witness. Denying ones personal choice of death interferes with their ability to die with some amount of dignity.

Despite the many ways in which euthanasia is viewed, it is still an act of murder. In order to resolve this ethical issue, euthanasia should be prohibited worldwide. To be precise, a prohibition provides legal and forceful consequences if the act in question were to occur (Green, 2011). Although placing a ban on this practice won’t necessarily ensure that the practice isn’t in use, it will at the very least, limit the regularity of the act considering that people will now fear the legal consequences, due to the involvement of the legal system. Ending a patient’s life also isn’t the only solution available; as there are various other ways to alleviate pain and suffering. Physicians are able to sedate patients, putting them into a sleep that will mask their discomfort until natural death takes place. As a result of the advancement in palliative care, assisted suicide today, serves no useful purpose as a solution. In 1990, a World Health Organization (WHO) Expert Committee had concluded that “…with the development of modern methods of palliative care, legislation of euthanasia is unnecessary. Now that a practical alternative to death in pain exists, there should be concentrated efforts to implement programs of palliative care, rather than yielding to pressure for legal euthanasia” (The Life Resources Charitable Trust, 2011). The topic of euthanasia is a very large one, considering that it still manages to stir up debates with countless arguments that support and reject it. As a result, it seems as though perhaps in the near future this issue will still remain unsolved. However, if this is not the case and euthanasia is in fact provided with a solution, on account of the strong arguments, I believe many will still remain unsatisfied with whatever choice made.

Although euthanasia could once and for all provide the prolonged peace a patient may have been wishing for, as well as remove the emotional and financial burden off of their family members, the act is still immoral and wrong. Due to the fact that family members are able to contribute to such a decision, many patients can be pressured into giving their family permission to end their lives. Religious groups are opposed to the legalization of euthanasia because it goes against their beliefs that God provided life and for that reason, should be the only one to take it away. Resorting to euthanasia as an option also violates the Hippocratic Oath, and does not request for a doctor’s true skill. It’s fair to say that doctors, as one of the leading healthcare providers, should obey the oath they’ve taken, and work to the best of their ability to provide life to all patients.…...

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