Euthanasia: The Dignity of End of Life
There are many questions that can be asked on the very controversial topic of assisted euthanasia. The most common views or beliefs of this medical dilemma can be said to be extremely for or against the process of euthanasia. Opposition can argue that assisted suicide devalues human life, is ethically and religiously immoral, and can lead to purification of society or performing euthanasia for financial reasons. Although these are valid political and religious arguments to consider, a much more personal view must be argued. The quality versus the quantity of the patient’s life, the patient’s personal wants and feelings, and the family must be ...view middle of the document...
Euthanasia can be defined as the act or practice of killing or permitting the death of hopelessly sick or injured individuals in a relatively painless way, for reasons of mercy. Although both definitions sound very similar, the debate of legalizing one or both terms is a very controversial topic not only in the United States but all over the world. There is also an alternative to assisted suicide, however the alternative does not seem to solve many of the issues but only temporarily relieves some of the problems at hand. Terminal sedation is one of the alternatives to euthanasia, just short of hospice care and palliative care. Terminal sedations involves permanently sedating a person into a coma like state. Again this comes down to patient preference, some may see this as a viable alternative while most would see it as another form of death. At what point is the quality of life seen as a very important factor in one’s life.
In most situations the choice of the patient takes priority over the other considerations: Consider a person with an incurable disease, illness, or a severe disability in which their life has become so unbearable and filled with pain or so burdensome that desirable, meaningful, and existing with a purpose has ended.
This perspective is reflected in surveys of relatives of terminally ill patients in Oregon. In two studies comparing deaths from ingesting lethal medication with deaths from terminal illness, relatives gave similar ratings of patients' medical and emotional well-being in the last days of life and of their own feelings about the patients' dying process. The only reported differences were that patients who chose assisted dying had greater control of their symptoms and that they and their families were more prepared for and accepting of their death. (Prokopetz and Lehmann, 2012)
Suppose that person says, My life is no longer worth living; I cannot stand it any longer; I want to end it now to avoid further pain, indignity, torment, and despair. In the end, after all alternatives have been thoroughly considered, the terminally ill person should have the right to make a choice to die and that choice should be honored and followed through. The role of the physician is to do what is best for the patient, and in some extreme situations this may include hastening death upon voluntary request of the dying patient. “Relieving suffering is widely recognized as a basic moral value and a goal of medicine in particular.” (Foley, 1991) In these cases, with already very dim potential outcomes, the best service a physician can render may be to help a person hasten death in order to relieve intolerable suffering that makes life unbearable, as in the view of the dying patient.
Physicians for Euthanasia
It can be said that the view of euthanasia overall is changing. Surveys have also found that more and more physicians have a more patient orientated view of the patient’s right to choose to...