Understanding Euthanasia

Understanding Euthanasia

Different groups of persons have put several definitions of euthanasia forward according to their religious beliefs or their social morals and beliefs. A standard definition of Euthanasia , terminating a person’s life due to pity in case he or she is suffering from a chronic disease, which has no cure or is difficult to pursue treatment due to different factors (Jackson 55). The social acceptance of euthanasia has created many controversies in different groups of persons globally since, different people clung on to different beliefs, superstitions, and religious principles which support or condemn euthanasia (Manning 78). Such controversies have made it difficult even in the legal acceptance of the act and many federals, especially those having a common national religion such as Islamic states are left at crossroads on whether to legalize it or not. This research paper identifies the major controversies surrounding euthanasia, the major factors that determine the views of people on euthanasia, types of euthanasia, and methods of euthanasia.

A vital fact in euthanasia is that, the decision to die is by close members of the family on behalf of the victim, making some people describe euthanasia as murder (Tors 34). Several factors lead to persons committing euthanasia for their parents and siblings with the major one being, financial constraints. When patients from humble backgrounds suffer unremitting diseases such as cancer or heart defects that require expensive treatments, euthanasia becomes an option. Arguments led to an agreement that incurring the treatment costs would only increase the poverty level of the family. This makes the living conditions more intolerable and the victim may never recover but die, leaving the members of the family in despicable poverty (Manning 78). Deciding an early death for the victim becomes an appealing option to the affected members. This is also the case if the victim suffers from an incurable disease or is in a comma. To reduce the suffering of the victim the members opt to undertake euthanasia reasoning that they will eventually die, as the disease is not curable or might never wake up from the comma.

Christians strongly condemn euthanasia and even regard it as sinful and those involved should repent. They regard it as murder, which is against God’s commandments and morally wrong. A principle put forth and agreed upon, is that, God is the giver of life and only He has the power and right to take it away at his appointed time (Paterson 88). All humans are equal and no one is superior before the eyes of the Lord, thus, no person has the right to decide when another should die as this would be disregarding human life. Unions against euthanasia, formed by Christians are active and their effects are evident in the states where they operate (Biggs 56).

Legal interventions in matters regarding euthanasia are interfering with personal issues of the people (Jackson 67). The major concern raised is whether any one has any established rights to decide between death and life (Manning 90). This issue resulted into intense arguments as the bill of rights require human beings be provided with freedom of choice although death of the victim is chosen upon by others. Very few states have legalized euthanasia, doctors found assisting in the acts, are prone to persecution, and nevertheless, this has proven to be difficult since there are individuals who decide euthanasia for themselves. Other than this fact, it becomes almost impossible to prosecute doctors who take part in euthanasia due to the argument that, it is upon the doctor’s power to decide on which method to use to alleviate pain from the patient.

Currently there has been a tremendous development in the medical field (Jackson 71). More discoveries on treatments for incurable diseases are currently present in developed medical institutes while those whose treatment is not yet, methods to keep the disease under control are also present. Therefore, euthanasia should not be an option owing to lack of treatment, furthermore, everyone deserves to die with dignity and choose how he or she wants to die if possible (Keown 59). Hence, if it is not upon the victims will to undergo euthanasia, it should not happen at any lengths. A person who is suffering and has minimal survivor chances should decide their fate beforehand as he or she reaches to a stage where they cannot do so. Patients who enter in a comma should remain in the life-supporting machine as research indicates that patients have woken up even after many years.

Euthanasia is a practice that doctors is directly involved, for instance, through families’ consent; they turn off the life supporting machines or withdraw respirators from patients (Tors 33). This is defiling the oath they take that binds them to only saving life and not terminating it. Although there are activists, who protect doctors assisting in euthanasia, they still face strong opposition from a legal perspective and condemnation from the society (Jackson 52). They argue that allowing doctors to carry out euthanasia is similar to granting them with the right to kill, thus people’s lives are prone to termination recklessly, and this is a disregard for human life. Detractors hold on to the principle that euthanasia undermines the doctors’ oath to save lives.

Methods used in euthanasia vary from withdraw of life supporting machines and respirators, withholding crucial fluids and food, injecting toxic chemicals to inhalation of poisonous gases. The method used largely depends on the type of euthanasia intended at t given conditions. Categorically, types of euthanasia are according the method applied to cause death, two main types are, passive euthanasia and active euthanasia (Jackson 89). Passive euthanasia is when no attempts to save life are made, no corrective measures are taken to correct any defaults detected and the health condition is left to deteriorate. On the other hand, when the death cause is deliberate it becomes active euthanasia. Only the doctor in charge can choose active methods of euthanasia and the patient can only choose the passive mode of euthanasia (Keown77). Withholding of essential fluids and foods is the common method of active euthanasia used by doctors.

Although people regard government involvement in euthanasia issues as tampering with individuals’ personal matters, its effect is important to some extent (Tors 46). It is impossible to prevent euthanasia in any country and even if the federal government is against the act, it has to participate to input control measures in the case of the individuals who willingly want euthanasia. It is upon the state to determine the number of persons (close relatives) who should consent the euthanasia once the patient agrees to it (Manning 67). The authority also determines the number of times an individual can sign for euthanasia authorization. This is especially to curb incidences of a person wanting another dead due to malicious aims and due to this reason the state has to see to it that, the victim himself or herself first agrees.

Another factor that legally affects euthanasia is living wills of individuals. A patient has the power to inform his or her doctor their wishes in case their health conditions worsen beforehand. He or she may inform the doctor that they do not wish to be in a life-supporting machine (Tors 32). This is clearly passive euthanasia and incase the patient’s health condition requires the use of a life- supporter machine, nothing is done and the patient is slowly left to die. Still the wills are not applicable in all states, which believe, it is the doctors’ professional responsibility and obligation to save life at all heights. An act as that is acting contrary to the doctors’ oath to save life and the doctor may lose his or her license. Personal pity and the humane character in any individual trigger doctors not to follow their patients’ will (Keown 31).

Some researchers have indicated that abortion is a form of euthanasia. This has created many controversies since, by aborting an unborn fetus, the person aborting has already decided death on behalf of the fetus (Keown 56). This is why abortion is an illegal act in many countries and persons found or discovered to have aborted are subject to prosecution together with their accomplices (Jackson 56). They base their argument on the facts that abortion is a form of euthanasia, which defies all the rules governing euthanasia. Legal euthanasia requires consent of the victim, and several individuals to sign up authorizing the euthanasia; in abortion none of the regulations are in practice. However, in cases where reliable medical experts establish that the life of the mother or the fetus is at risk if the pregnancy is until birth maintained, then abortion is automatically legal.

The aim of any human being is to utilize the resources accessible to them and live their lives to the best and as long as they can no matter the quality of their lives. Natural death should be the only thing that should bring to an end the existence of person (Paterson 60). Therefore, euthanasia, either passive or active, should not be a solution to medical problems especially not without the consent of the victim. Some of the methods of euthanasia should cease being in use as they cause a lot of suffering to the patient before death. Euthanasia should not be an option to any one as this declares defeat and everyone should wait for their natural death (Biggs 66).

In conclusion, many controversies surround euthanasia (Jackson 76). Different groups of persons hold different views on euthanasia due to various factors that determine their views such as religious principles, social ethics, cultural beliefs, and legal considerations. Euthanasia is mainly in two types, active euthanasia, and passive euthanasia. In passive euthanasia, there are no attempts preventing death from occurring, but one deteriorates and eventually dies. In active euthanasia, the cause of death is usually deliberate (Tors 45). Food and important fluids withdrawn, this causes the patient severe complications before he or she dies. It is also important to note that abortion is also a form of euthanasia.

Works Cited

Jackson, Linda. Euthanasia (face the facts). Philadelphia: Raintree publishers. 2005.

Manning, Micheal. Euthanasia and physical- Assisted suicide. London: Paulist publishers. 2000.

Keown, John. Euthanasia, Ethics, and public policy. New York: CambrigdeUniversityPublishers.2002

Biggs, Hazel. Euthanasia, death with Dignity and the Law. California: Hart publishers. 2001.

Torr, James. Euthanasia, opposing viewpoints. New York: Greenhaven publishers. 2000.

Paterson, Craig. Assisted suicide and Euthanasia. New Jersey: Ashgate Publishers.2008.

Manning, Micheal. Inamorata. London: Paulist publishers.2001.

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