“To die proudly when it is no longer possible to live proudly. Death freely chosen, death at the right time, brightly and cheerfully accomplished amid children and witness: then a real farewell is still possible, as the one who is taking leave is still there; also a real estimate of what one has wished, drawing the sum of one’s life- all in opposition of the wretched and revolting comedy that Christianity has made of the hour of death”-
The above quote clearly demonstrate that Euthanasia help people to die proudly. However, still there are some controversies associated with Euthanasia as different kinds of people have different types of opinion regarding it.
Euthanasia is the word came from the Greek word euthanatize which means well death. The term euthanasia means good death but now in modern world it means a death free from pain. (Young, 2007) Many debates around the world took place regarding the legalization of euthanasia. Before focusing on the other issues of euthanasia it is necessary to know more about euthanasia.
Euthanasia means the cessation of a sick person’s life in order to free them from illness. Sometimes the person suffering from illness himself asks for euthanasia. But in some cases person may not asks for it. The term euthanasia is a controversial term because relating to this many arguments carried out; some says its legal rest says it illegal. Relating to this topic further argument will be given.
Euthanasia can be define as the act of killing a terminally ill person out of concern or to make him free from the illness which he is suffering from a very long time. (Terminally ill deserve honesty, 2013) It is also known as mercy killing (Solomita, 2009). Euthanasia is divided into two parts that is active and passive euthanasia. Active euthanasia is highly controversial it means the direct action which causes death of the person in request of the person died, it is also considered as murder. On the other side passive euthanasia means the process that is performed on terminally ill patient so that natural death occurs sooner. They focus largely on natural death. This is adopted by the medical professionals as well as by the law only under specific situations. Passive euthanasia includes giving high doses of painkiller which causes death earlier. It also includes not giving food and water to the patient so that the death occurs due to starvation. (Starvation diet, 2013) Euthanasia is a controversial issue; this is because it can make a way for the relatives of the patients to murder them intentionally so that they can take over their properties. They may also say that the patient himself expressed his desire to end his life or he can pressurize to sign the consent form expressing their views emotionally. Even though British law states all this method as illegal but it supports passive euthanasia only if a person is suffering from illness is too ill to take the decision themselves or there is no further chance of the patient to recover from the illness. This method is not classified as murder because the main priority is to give peaceful death to the patient (James and Austen, 2011). In the past few years many request and cases came in Britain to make euthanasia legal in UK, but none of them successes in legalising euthanasia in UK as the government strongly feel that if they make it legal there is high possibility that it will turn up to evade murder. (Danyliv and O'Neill, 2015)
Some people feel that euthanasia should be made legal. People from terminal illness suffers a lot, they may live a very limited lives. They start assuming themselves as a burden upon the family members. If the person wants to end his live to get rid of his incurable disease then the decision should be for them, the world should not force them to live. If a mother can abort her healthy child inside then why can’t the doctor or the family members of the patient who is suffering from continuous illness have the option to end the life of the patient. People those who are supporting euthanasia argued that the last few months of a patient’s life is expensive who is suffering from terminal diseases in terms of medical treatment because the type of treatment they are going through is an expensive process. They further debate on euthanasia that it is the way of relieving family finance from expensive medical treatment.
On the other hand some people also believe that euthanasia should stay illegal. They think that making euthanasia legal will increase the risk of murder. By making euthanasia legal sick people will be discouraged to live their life properly and they won’t be making any effort to find out the treatment of the disease they are suffering. People should expect the doctors to find out the measures for the treatment of the disease not to find out the methods to kill the patients. Further they continue their debate by opposing the cost factor that is people should not end their lives to save the cost of the medical treatment. There is always a solution to the problem of the cost of medical treatment like there should be proper health care service provided to elderly and disable person. There is no need of complicated operations which may not be suitable for the elderly patient in the last stage rather they can provide food and other essential items and remedies for controlling pain. (Johnson, 2012) These things does not cost high amount of money.
Deontology is a Greek word which means the science of duty. It says that a set of morals is provided and everyone should act according to it. (McHugh, 2011) It is created with logics; it focuses on the means to save life not the means to end it. This approach states killing a person is immoral. (Morris, 2012) According to this approach morality means identifying one’s duty and performing it. This approach does not support euthanasia rather it tries to cure the person through whatever means it can. This ethics focuses on three duties that are do not kill, do not lie and the duty to keep promises. The doctors who follow the theory of Deontology strongly perform their duties according to the oath they took when they became a doctor that they will perform their duties for the benefits of the sick and would take all the suitable steps to cure them. Theory of deontology does not support euthanasia as they go through all the measures they can to prevent the patients.
From the view point of utilitarian, to justify euthanasia is allowing people to die a good death. At the time of their chose, the decision to end the life will make them happy than the pain they are suffering from illness. The main object for euthanasia is Utilitarian. Utilitarian states that the action which brings happiness to the large number of people and at the end the result should conclude the moral importance of that action. As euthanasia increase happiness and release the person from the pain then it is morally correct. Utilitarian also states that an individual has the full independence over their body and are free to make their own decision relating to their body and no one else has the authority. (Crane, 2012) If the patients wants to die then it is totally up to him and the other people even the government authority don’t the right to interfere in his decision. (Stadler, 2006) According to utilitarianism theory the action is judged as good or bad after the outcome derived from the action (Thornicroft and Tansella, 2010) According to utilitarian right actions, is the action that has great usefulness.
There are some examples of medical issues that promote controversial debates on euthanasia are as follows:
A girl named Emma Ogden suffering from a constant heart defect she was suffering from this disease since twelve year of her life. She was treated by Dr. Abdul Hamid. He informed her and her parents that the only way of her survival is undergoing through a risky heart transplant process. (Young and Kaan, 2014) Emma was mature enough to decide that she does not want to go through the process and was ready to face the consequence that is death. Dr Hamid wanted to treat her but was stuck; then he went to take the permission of her parents and here creates a controversy. Another example of medical issues that promote controversial debates is a 14 year old Chilean girl who was suffering from acute cystic fibrosis is asking permission from her country’s president to end her life. (Giddings, 2009) She published short video pleading to meet the president and she posted the video on facebook which gone viral. This creates a controversy. A pair of identical twins Marc and Eddy verbessem, who was born deaf. When they found out that they would soon become blind then they decided to end their lives together and requested the doctor under euthanized to give lethal injection. (Philpott, 2014) This case was highly controversial. Another controversial case of euthanasia was the case of Brittany Maynard who was terminally ill pled to end her life under Oregon’s Death With Dignity under this law a person with incurable disease can take their lives with lethal dose provided by the doctor. The patient and her husband moved to Oregon from California to take the advantage of this law. The case of Timothy Bowers who was 32 went for deer haunting when he fell from a tree which was 16 feet long caused a severe spinal injury. The accident made him paralyzed totally dependent on a ventilator, so his family asked the doctor to remove him from the ventilator, the doctor after taking the consent of the patient removed him from ventilator. This case was also very controversial. One more controversial case of euthanasia that of a murderer and the rapist who was given the right of euthanasia, in this case the murderer pled for euthanasia as he could not bear the psychological sufferings of living in prison so he was given the right to die under Belgium liberal euthanasia laws.
Apparently many of us has experienced with our loved ones who suffered very much during the end of their life. So after the whole research I personally feel that euthanasia should be made legal, though there are many types of risks involve like relatives may kill the patient in order to take over the property and can say that the patient himself asked or requested him to take his life as he wanted to get rid of the pain he was suffering, this can happen if euthanasia made legalised. But still I feel these types of risk will never omit the fact that the people lives in very miserable conditions, they are suffering from an incurable diseases and bearing lots of pain so it will be very unfair to keep them alive and forcing them to live this life in a painful way. If the patient himself wants to end his life and want to get rid of the pain then the government or the society should not interfere in their decision of ending their life rather they should help them in doing so because everyone has the right to die in a peaceful and dignified way. Everyone has the right to die painlessly; this would give happiness not only to the patient but also their family members. Moreover the cost of medical treatment is raising up very frequently so if someone is suffering from disabilities or from terminal illness and the patient wants to end his life so he should have the right to do so because as the disease is incurable it is of no use to continue the treatment, it will not cure the disease rather it will increase the cost of medical treatment and sufferings for the patient. To support my arguments regarding legalisation of euthanasia let me give an example. An Indian nurse named Aruna Ramchandra Shanbaug who was working in King Edward Memorial Hospital; Mumbai was sexually assaulted by a ward boy of the hospital and remained in a vegetative state for 37 years. On 24th January 2011, the Supreme Court of India responded to the plea for euthanasia filed by Aruna’ friend, journalist Pinki Virani but the court rejected the petition on 7th March 2011. But later she died from Pneumonia on 8th May 2015 after being in a vegetative state for nearly 42 years. Now my point is why the court turned down the petition and was giving stress on natural death. When she was in coma for so many years, she must have suffered a lot, if the court had granted euthanasia, she would have got rid of her pain. So in my opinion court should have given the permission for euthanasia to set her free from the pain she was bearing for 37 years. Till now euthanasia is not accepted properly by the government of most of the country as it involves the risk of intentional murder.
Crane, S. (2012). Independence. [Charleston, S.C.: CreateSpace].
Danyliv, A. and O'Neill, C. (2015). Attitudes towards legalising physician provided euthanasia in Britain: The role of religion over time. Social Science & Medicine, 128, pp.52-56.
Duke, A. and BÃ¨gue, L. (2015). The drunk utilitarian: Blood alcohol concentration predicts utilitarian responses in moral dilemmas. Cognition, 134, pp.121-127.
Giddings, S. (2009). Cystic fibrosis. New York: Chelsea House.
James, P. and Austen, J. (2011). Death comes to Pemberley. New York: Alfred A. Knopf.
Johnson, L. (2012). National security intelligence. Cambridge: Polity.
McHugh, C. (2011). Epistemic Deontology and Voluntariness. Erkenn, 77(1), pp.65-94.
Morris, D. (2012). Tax cheating. Albany: Excelsior Editions.
Philpott, S. (2014). Execution by Lethal Injection: Illegal Research ?. Hastings Center Report, 44(2), pp.11-12.
Solomita, S. (2009). Mercy killing. Sutton: Severn House.
Stadler, H. (2006). Disabil-ITy-Projekt zur Berufsvorbereitung junger Menschen mit KÃ¶rperbehinderungen abgeschlossen. Die Rehabilitation, 45(3), pp.186-187.
Starvation diet. (2013). Nature, 494(7438), pp.401-402.
Terminally ill deserve honesty. (2013). Nursing Standard, 27(34), pp.8-8.
Thornicroft, G. and Tansella, M. (2010). Mental Health Outcome Measures. London: RCPsych Publications.
Young, M. (2007). Euthanasia. Detroit: Greenhaven Press.
Young, Q. and Kaan, A. (2014). Improving the Heart Transplant Decision Making Process: 10-year Experience Using the Heart Transplant Candidate Selection Form. The Journal of Heart and Lung Transplantation, 33(4), p.S223
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